Parent engagement in UAE Moral Education Programme necessary, say educators

DUBAI, 15th January, 2019 (WAM) — More than 180 public and private school principals from across the UAE today attended the first day of the Principals’ Roundtable for the UAE Moral Education Programme, an education initiative launched under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Opening the event, Mohamed Al Neaimi, Director of the Educational Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, presented an overview of the programme and its journey so far. Al Neaimi highlighted the Programme’s successes since the curriculum was piloted in January 2017.

In his address, Al Neaimi stressed that educators are at the top of the pyramid for implementation of a successful program, and play a vital role in realising its objectives.

Al Neaimi also emphasised to the school leaders present the importance of engaging parents and encouraging families to become more involved in the programme. He added, “The curriculum is designed to include parents as their children explore moral development in school, complementing their upbringing in the home.”

“This curriculum has been developed with the diversity of all the UAE residents in mind. It is a baseline upon which we intend to build and develop a strong moral compass for everyone in the UAE,” the Educational Affairs Office Director explained.

Dr. Marvin W. Berkowitz, Professor of Character Education, and Co-Director of the Centre for Character and Citizenship at the University of Missouri in St. Louis, gave an overview of moral education principles and best international practices, noting the value of collaboration in building good character in children. “The pedagogy of character is good development, and the character of a child is impacted by every individual they are in touch with,” he explained, adding,”the future of the world rests with the character of its citizens.”

Aretha R. Miller, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of leading US educational consultancy, The Venn Group, shared her expertise and gave practical examples of community engagement. Miller urged the gathering principals to personalise their delivery of the programme to suit their schools and classes, by collecting resources and building their own toolkit. Addressing the educators, Miller said, “you have to be the first learner of the moral education curriculum.”

“Only then,” she added, “can you facilitate the work that needs to be done.”

For the final part of the day, principals broke into smaller groups to take part in workshops and discussions focused on formulating recommendations to strengthen the curriculum.

Reflecting on the success of the first day of the roundtable, Al Neaimi, said, “The Principals’ Roundtable aims to inspire school leadership through working together as a community, leaning on each other for support to conquer common challenges, and also celebrating successes with one another. Today’s gathering has witnessed a lively and engaging exchange of ideas and has given participants excellent food for thought as they commit to strengthening and improving the delivery of Moral Education in their own schools.”

The one-day meeting, which was held in Dubai, will also take place in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, 16th January at Zayed University.

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