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Emirates Foundation, Ministry of Education embed sustainability and financial literacy in UAE public schools curriculum

As part of its on-going efforts to deliver sustainable and positive impact on the lives of the Emirati youth, Emirates Foundation has concluded the third phase of incorporating sustainability and financial literacy in the curriculum of public schools in UAE.

Including sustainable development issues in the teaching curriculam of public schools is one of the leading education projects of the foundation in the UAE and the region. The project aims to incorporate subjects such as environment, globalization, peaceful co-existence, food security, energy, financial literacy as a part of the curriculum, in addition to enhancing participatory learning and teaching methods which stimulate learners to bring about a behavior change. The project is aimed at providing students today with resource to enhance their thinking skills to be able to anticipate and make decisions in a collaborative manner to provide solution to sustainability challenges.

The project is implemented in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Education through an agreement signed last April between the two parties. The agreement identified the project’s legal and procedural framework and determined the practical next steps for the project implementation and the shared responsibilities between both parties.

The project is a result of close collaboration and cooperation with teams and experts from the Ministry of Education. The project is implemented in cooperation with a committee of experts and education curriculum authors. The committee comprises of 37 experts and writers who were nominated by the Ministry of Education for their broad expertise in the field of education, environmental training and sustainable development in order to work on developing this project further.
“Integrating sustainable development issues in teaching curricula comes in line with the Foundation’s vision and strategy directed towards inspiring and empowering the youth in UAE and guiding them to contribute in building the country’s future, investing in their capabilities and making a positive and sustainable social impact in their lives,” commented Maytha Al Habsi, Chief Programmes Officer, Emirates Foundation.

“We have launched this project as a new initiative aimed at serving the community by educating the youth today on sustainable development issues and concepts at an early stage to help them protect and conserve our environment and natural resources. Additionally, the new curriculum will also help develop a culture of personal financial management thus building a better and brighter future for present and future generations,” she added.

The Emirates Foundation had earlier organized a number of workshops, with over 37 education curriculum experts at the Ministry of Education participating, in order to create the concept of “Education for Sustainable Development” that is now incorporated into the school curriculum starting from nursery level reaching to the twelfth grade.

The project focused on key issues and concepts of sustainable development to be integrated in the curriculum, including financial literacy, food security, globalization, environment, energy, and social citizenship.

The first phase of the project included the preliminary design, planning and identification of issues and subjects that needed to be included in the curriculum. Post which these topics and issues were tested and evaluated.

In the second phase- the project was further developed to include a draft of the proposed curriculum and guidelines defining the basics of sustainable development, and developing a special guide for teachers and curriculum specialists.

The third phase of the project included reviewing and finalizing the curriculum and guide’s map besides developing an on-going system for supporting teachers and providing continuous follow up in order to incorporate the agreed concepts in the curriculum and improve them in the coming years.

This significant phase also includes rolling out a large-scale curriculum testing mainly regarding the agreed implementation strategy, testing evaluation techniques and assessing the curriculum through presenting it to schools.

“Incorporating sustainable development concepts in the education curriculum includes engaging students in a number of experimental activities that will help them research and understand sustainability issues and topics, which will result in graduating a new generation that’s more aware about their unique environment and adopting practices that help boost the sustainable development in the country,” said Sheikha Kholoud Al Qassimi, Director of Curriculum Department at the Ministry of Education.

“Education for sustainable development will have long term positive impact on the students thinking patterns and the future development process in the UAE in general,” she added.