KHDA launches pilot programme for teacher lincencesSeptember 26, 2016, 1:05 pm GMT
Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority has launched a pilot programme to improve the quality of teaching and learning at 15 private schools in Dubai.
More than 200 teachers are expected to participate in the Teacher and Educational Leadership Standards (TELS) and Licensing pilot project.
The UAE Teacher and Educational Leadership Standards have been developed by education regulators in the UAE to ensure teachers at different career stages can demonstrate professional competence and provide first rate teaching and learning for students across the UAE.
The teacher licensing standards were developed in consultation with various government and educational entities based on international best practices.
Commenting on the licensing project, Dr Thani Ahmed Al Mehairi, director general of National Qualifications Authority (NQA) and chair of the Supreme National Steering Committee said: "The teacher licensing project is designed to achieve goals set out in UAE National Agenda. This will lead to a higher quality of teaching which is based on professional standards and guarantees minimum knowledge and skills associated with teaching."
"The project will adopt a specific career path for education licensing which includes the undertaking of modules to meet licensing requirements. The renewal will be based on performance assessment and professional development requirements, which will lead to the development of a clear professional path for teachers."
The four month pilot programme will map the competence of teachers against performance criteria and indicators. Teachers will have to demonstrate knowledge and understanding along with skills and application as part of the requirements of acquiring a teaching license.
UAE TELS will see teachers undergo professional development and assessment, which will be aimed at standardising their skills and practice to ensure a high quality of teaching and learning in schools.
The teacher licensing project will be implemented in three stages: in the first stage, teachers will apply for the Provisional License, followed by the second stage of self-assessment and training. In the third stage, teachers will take a TELSUAE exam to receive UAE competent teacher status licence.
Teachers participating in the pilot phase are expected to receive their provisional licences next week.
The first set of teachers are expected to receive their UAE competent teacher status licence by January 2017.
Commenting on the launch of the pilot phase, KHDA director general Dr Abdulla Al Karam said: "Teacher licensing is a pioneering project that will allow us to see an improvement in the quality of teaching and help achieve the objectives outlined in the UAE National Agenda. This is a good opportunity for the UAE to produce a teacher licensing system which can work as a global tool. By working with diverse curriculums, this project will present itself as a valuable opportunity for teachers to improve their skills in line with international standards."
As part of the pilot phase, principals from participating schools received information about the licensing requirements at a briefing session hosted earlier. Teachers applying for the license also received more information about the new teaching standards at an awareness session.
The professional develop, training and assessment will be conducted by the British University in Dubai (BUiD).
Omar Hatoum, principal of Al Mawakeb School Al Garhoud said, "The TELSUAE project is an opportunity for teachers to gain a different perspective on education and professional growth as we move forward in the UAE towards achieving the competent teacher status."
Jeff Smith, director of Deira International School noted the importance of teacher licensing as he said: "Professional recognition of teachers is important and it will definitely improve the social status of teachers by adding to their professionalism. There is a lot to gain from this initiative."
Ruth Burke, principal at GEMS Wellington International School commented: "We have seen great improvements in the quality and consistency of Dubai schools, which is reflected in the school inspection ratings. This focused approach on quality has benefited every student in the city. At a city wide level, the commitment to drive student outcomes will be key in achieving school based targets and national targets. Bringing a standardised approach to teaching will benefit all stakeholders and help us do the best for our students while achieving national agenda targets."
Elisabeth Swartz, a Grade 5 teacher at Dubai American Academy added: "Being an effective teacher is much more than being an expert in subject matter. Student-centered teaching, establishing and maintaining professional relationships with students, promoting positive learning environments, understanding personal and professional ethics within the UAE are skills that prospective teachers will learn through this programme."
The National Qualifications Authority had announced earlier this year that the proposed professional licence for teachers in the UAE is expected to be introduced in 2017 and fully implemented by 2021. A six-month pilot project was expected to be announced this academic year.
A similar project was announced by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) last week for public and private schools in the UAE capital.
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