Bank Street School of Education and The Clarion School Team Up in Dubai
Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is known as a global city rich with culture and innovation as well as a hot tourist destination, drawing visitors from all parts of the globe. After Dubai made its mark in construction with the colossal Burj Khalifa, in tourism with the 7-star Burj Al Arab hotel and in landscaping with the stunning Dubai Miracle Garden, it is now turning its attention to education.
For over 40 years, Scholars International Group (SIG) has been working to educate children through high caliber, achievement oriented schools and has sent students off to attend some of the world’s most prestigious universities including Brown University, McGill University, University of Cambridge, and others. Now, SIG is looking forward to launching its newest initiative: The Clarion School, directed by project head Kumar Verma.
According to Verma, Dubai is in a unique position in the education sphere due to the influx of ex-pats present in the city and the diverse population. “With around 90% of the population non-native, Dubai has had to develop its own private school system to cater to the ex-pats who come there,” said Verma. In fact, the UAE has the second largest private school industry in the world after China to cater to the 50-60 different nationalities that can be found in any given school there.
There are a number of different curriculums implemented in Dubai with the most popular being the UK National Curriculum due to the strongly felt British influence in Dubai. Conversely, there are few American schools; approximately 35 use American textbooks but only five use the full curriculum and even fewer can be considered truly American. The Clarion School aims to become the leading US curriculum school in the region with exceptionally trained teachers. To do this, they have teamed up with Bank Street School of Education. “We have been working for a year and a half on a curriculum that is based upon the progressive approach of Bank Street but localized to the nuances and environment of Dubai,” said Verma. The program will also offer the IB Diploma program stream.
Verma also explained an important issue with teacher retention. Because Dubai is on the international teacher circuit, many teachers move quickly on to the next posting. “Having teachers trained at Bank Street would allow us to create consistency to our approach,” he said. He added that when teachers leave, their ideas and thinking go too which makes it difficult to keep consistency. With the Clarion-Bank Street affiliation, there will be positive reductions in this issue. The final reason Verma was drawn to Bank Street was because of its exceptional professional development. “There’s not much teacher training in Dubai,” he said, “so having access to high quality development was critical to continue pushing the boundaries of excellence. We knew that we were getting a phenomenally strong partner to help mentor and provide professional development within the same philosophy.” #
The Clarion School is slated to open in September, 2016. More information can be found at clarionschooldubai.com.