70% UAE Parents Believe Creative Thinking and Languages Are Most Important Skills To Future-Proof Children’s Careers

Monday 12 November 2018
Dubai - MENA Herald:

Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD) today reported that parents in the UAE are increasingly aware of the importance of selecting a school curriculum that teaches skills that are essential for future careers. In fact, 95% of UAE parents recognize the importance of checking a school’s curriculum to ensure it covers the required skills for future jobs. According to the survey, parents believe that the top three important skills required will be creative/innovative thinking (75%), emotional intelligence (70%) and languages (70%).

Experts have talked about the changing face of jobs for the future. The World Economic Forum (WEF) report in 2016 revealed that some of the most in-demand occupations/specialisms did not exist ten or even five years ago. The pace of change in the business and government sectors is set to accelerate again over the next few years. WEF also reported later in 2017 that employers’ top ten most-desired skills by 2020 include complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, people management, judgement and decision-making, negotiation, service orientation, coordination, cognitive flexibility – practical and emotional skills.

The survey conducted by YouGov showed that 80% of UAE parents believe schools are preparing their children for future careers. Across 17 different curricula from American, British, Emirati, International Baccalaureate (IB) or Indian, each has an individual mission and vision for a child’s education. Some focus more on the academic content and traditional learning methods, others are mapping to the trends that deliver an all-rounded education across subjects with self-learning and bilingualism to prepare for future jobs that currently do not even exist.

The teaching methods are also constantly evolving. In recent years, the market has witnessed an increase in the number of schools offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB Curriculum).  In Dubai, five out of 13 new schools that opened in September 2018 offer full IB Curriculum and prior to this, 14 full IB schools existed in Dubai.

More and more parents are seeking this curriculum that became the most sought-after qualification for university entry for it is inclusive of the above mentioned skills to prepare the workforce of the future. The International Baccalaureate aims to holistically develop an open-minded student, through a diverse curriculum geared towards independence, understanding of knowledge theory, and engagement with real-world issues. This is the nature of the “Creativity, Activity, Service” (CAS) project that characterizes the IBDP, and sets it apart from other curricula in how it fosters students who aren’t just academically competent, but also well-rounded in a variety of ways. Harvard University recognises that students with good CAS performances have qualities and skills that other students don’t possess.

Norbert Foerster, Head of School at the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai (SISD) said: “The IB program is known for being a prestigious and intensive academic curriculum that equips students with the right tools for a well-rounded, self-sufficient attitude to life not just education. At SISD, we focus on a holistic approach to learning that emphasizes independent thinking, intercultural awareness, strong language skills and a global perspective.

“The YouGov survey shows that critical thinking, emotional intelligence and languages are important skills considered by majority of UAE parents. Our school’s IB Curriculum ensures students gain critical thinking skills and inquire into the process of learning, rather than merely learning a specific body of facts and figures. Our well-rounded bilingual curriculum, taught in the German/English and French/English streams. fosters bilingualism, biliteracy, enhanced awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, and high levels of academic achievement through instruction in two languages. At the end of the day, we want to be a progressive school that teaches students the most important skills for the future. They have to be competitive in a workforce that will demand well-rounded individuals able to cope with the effects of technological innovation.”

One further statistic from the YouGov data showed that the majority of UAE parents (80%) believe that Dubai's education system offers the best educational opportunities for students to prepare for future work life. Dubai is a fast-evolving, multicultural and forward-thinking city that is already a global hub for many sectors. This is why it is crucial to teach students skills that will allow them to interact with others in a context that is more than ever globalized and in constant evolution.

SISD is Dubai’s first ever day and boarding school to offer multilingual education in French, English, German and Arabic. The school opened in 2015 and counts to date 1,200 students.

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