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5,076 UAE teachers to be tested for ability

Gulf News 2018-03-13 16:13:00
the Minister of Education, Hussain Al HammadiImage Credit:

Assessments in April and September are part of ministry’s goal to implement teacher licensing system

Abu Dhabi: As an initial step towards implementing a teacher licensing system across the UAE, 5,076 high school educators will be assessed to test their knowledge of the subjects they teach, officials announced on Tuesday.

Following the first round of tests in April, the teachers employed at public and private schools across the UAE, will appear for an additional teaching practice assessment in September, Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, said at a press conference.

“This teacher licensing system has been designed to match the UAE’s vision for the future. We aim to license all workers in the education sector by the end of 2020,” Al Hammadi said.

“Based on the results of the initial assessments, teachers will receive training so that they can meet the UAE’s educational standards and compete with other educators on a global level.”

Following the assessment, which will extend till the end of 2020, all educators will have to be licensed to teach at schools in the UAE.

The 5,076 educators to be assessed in the first phase teach one of six core subjects to students in Grades 10, 11 and 12 at public and private schools offering the Ministry of Education curriculum, said Roudha Al Marar, director of professional licensing at the ministry. The subjects are English, Arabic, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

“The teachers will have to update or provide certain personal and professional details. They will then be notified about the date, location and time for the initial assessment, known as the specialised tests,” Al Marar explained.

The specialised tests are essentially subject-specific assessments to determine the educators’ knowledge of the topics they teach. The ministry will set the content of the two-and-a-half-hour tests.

The next assessment phase, known as the professional exams, will help the ministry understand teachers’ level of professionalism, their grasp of pedagogy and classroom management skills, and their ability to incorporate the UAE’s heritage and values in their teaching.

Once a teacher sits for both assessments, the ministry will determine gaps in his or her skills and competencies, and a set of training requirements will be specified.

“Teachers will also be issued licences for a minimum of one and maximum of three years, based on the specific educator’s competencies and need for retraining,” added Hassan Al Muhairi, assistant undersecretary for higher education at the ministry.

Officials said that the next phase of teacher licensing will focus on teachers in private schools, as well as teachers of other subjects like Islamic Studies and Health Education in Ministry of Education curriculum schools, but did not specify a timeline for the roll-out.

“We will announce details as they are ironed out. But as of this stage, we do not want education professionals to panic. This kind of licensing system already exists in other sectors like health care, and we want the roll-out to be smooth and easy,” Al Marar said.

The official also stressed that no teacher training centres have yet been authorised by the ministry.

“We will closely supervise the training programmes, and will announce details of training centres once these initial set of assessments is completed,” she added.

At this stage, the cost of training for teachers has also not been decided or approved by the ministry. No teacher training centres have yet been authorised.

According to the ministry’s figures, there are 70,845 education professionals in the country.

Plans to introduce a teacher licensing system were announced in the UAE as early as 2013, and since then, the Teacher and Educational Leadership Standards have been approved by the National Qualification Authority.

In 2016, about 600 teachers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi schools participated in a pilot programme to assess competencies, and at the start of the 2017-18 academic year, education officials said that teacher licensing is a priority goal.

How it works

5,076 teachers in all public and private schools offering the Ministry of Education curriculum will appear for specialised tests in April.

They teach one of six subjects — English, Arabic, Maths, Biology, Chemistry or Physics — in Grades 10, 11 and 12.

The two-and-a-half-hour specialised tests are subject-specific assessments to determine the educators’ knowledge of the topics they teach.

In September, they will appear for professional tests that will assess professionalism, classroom management skills, lesson planning and ability to incorporate UAE heritage and values in teaching.

Once a teacher completes both assessments, the ministry will determine gaps skills and competencies and a set of training requirements will be specified.