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Khalifa Award recognises contributions to education

posted on 15/04/2014: 2229 views

As the UAE's education sector advances, there is a growing need for talented individuals to enter and enrich the field. In a bid to support this process, the seventh Khalifa Award for Education on Monday honoured 36 people, projects and organisations.

Winners at the ceremony in the capital included 23 educators and innovators, as well as eight organisations and five projects that have contributed towards enhancing education in the Arab world.

Speaking at the ceremony, Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the award's Board of Trustees, said the prizes aim to raise educational standards in the Arab world, and support those working in the field.

"By rewarding those who excel as educators, we hope to also encourage more Emiratis to take up the noble profession of teaching,” Al Mansour said.

The awards were distributed in ten categories for the 2013-2014 cycle, including public education, special needs, education and the sustainable environment, education and community service, higher education within the UAE and the Arab world, new media and education, educational research, projects and innovative educational programmes, educational authoring for children and educational personality of the year.

This year, the prize for educational personality was given to Dr Khalid Touqan, chairman of the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission who previously served as the country's minister of education. In addition to boasting a wide array of qualifications, Dr Touqan has also launched educational reform programmes to improve Jordanian pupils' performance in the fields of maths and science.

The award for educational personality was introduced in the 2012-2013 cycle. It was first awarded to General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in recognition of his efforts and vision in developing education.

According to the award committee, the Khalifa Award also seeks to promote good childhood behaviour, and honour those who effectively make use of advanced educational technologies in the region.

Each winner received a Certificate of Excellence, a trophy, and a cash reward ranging from Dh100,000 to Dh200,000.

The ceremony was also attended by other senior officials, including Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qattami, Minister of Education.

Winner 1

Badriya Al Junaibi: Distinguished University Professor in the Field of Teaching, Higher Education within the UAE and the Arab World

By giving all her students certificates of attendance and encouraging them to pursue volunteer and social work during her courses, Associate Professor Badriya Al Junaibi became a recipient of this year's Khalifa Award for Education.

Specialising in public relations at the UAE University, Dr Badriya, decided to take a more practical approach in a field she believes to rely heavily on theory instead of application.

"My students are asked to present me with a case study based on a real-life firm. They then volunteer at the firm and set up a PR campaign for them and all of this is considered course work which they are graded on,” she told Gulf News.

Although she has only been working in the education field for five years, Dr Badriya said she still wants to accomplish a great deal.

"This is the first award I win out of many, I hope. I started out as an assistant professor and have worked my way up to associate professor. I plan on becoming a full-time professor,” she said.

Winner 2

Dr Raed Abdullah: Creative Teacher

Instilling a passion for a subject may be difficult for most teachers, especially those in the science fields. However, for teachers like Dr Raed Abdullah, with an ability to make students excel in chemistry, a Khalifa Award for Education was not surprising.

Dr Abdullah was given the title of Creative Teacher for the 2013-2014 cycle.

"I have worked 15 years in my field and I never forgot that the essence of being a good teacher is leadership and innovation. Using these tools I have managed to get my students to not only enjoy the subject I am teaching, but to also do very well in it,” he said.

The teacher, who currently works in the Institute of Applied Technology, revealed that he is constantly encouraging his students to join clubs and enter competitions, which has therefore enabled them to also perform well in international exams.

"A good teacher hones students' abilities and expands their talents. To receive an award like this means that I have done my job well and will definitely continue to do so,” he added.

Winner 3

Khalifa Bin Zayed School Sentence Writing Programme by Warren Love: Educational Projects and Innovative Educational Programmes within the UAE and the Arab world

Capturing the attention of adolescents is never an easy task. But with 40 years of teaching experience, Warren Love has not only managed to improve their English writing skills but also earned the Khalifa Award for Education in the category for Educational Projects and Innovative Educational Programmes within the UAE and the Arab World.

The 62-year-old public school teacher from New Zealand introduced a sentence writing programme for pupils in Grade 10 and 12 at the Khalifa Bin Zayed School in Al Ain. The plan was to get pupils engaged in the learning process by exposing them to texts written about their own lives. Within a year, their scores had improved by 30 to 40 per cent on average, as a study of the sample of about 50 pupils showed.

"Given that many of the boys I teach don't read English texts, I wanted to get them used to proper sentence structure without going through the rigours of learning grammar. So I developed and used stories about them,” Love told Gulf News.

One of the pieces is about a boy who gets lost in Bangkok while he accompanies his father for medical treatment.

"A teacher must always love his students. And the students should sense that you will work extra hard for them in order for teaching to be effective,” Love said.

Winner 4

Delhi Private School – Sharjah: Educational and Institutional Performance, Public Education

Managing a school of 6,000 pupils may seem daunting, but a private school in Sharjah has accomplished it with great flair. The Delhi Private School-Sharjah was awarded for Outstanding Educational and Institutional Performance at the Khalifa Award for Education, and its leaders said the key is to let children learn at their own pace.

"This award places much more responsibility upon us to keep on excelling. We are on the right track, but we can go a long way yet,” said Vandana Marwaha, principal at the school, which has been operating for 14 years.

"We intend to go paperless at the school within two years, and enhance the use of technology in our classes. And we already ensure that our teachers receive regular internal and external training,” said Dinesh Kothari, pro-vice chairman at the institution.

Marwaha added that 2013-2014 is the first year the school has applied for the award, and winning it on the first attempt is a great honour. – Gulf News – Read more:


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