A member of the Federal National Council (FNC) has proposed that the Ministry of Education (MoE) introduces aptitude tests similar to the Emirates Standard Test (EmSat) to assess the student’s skills in moral, religious and cultural values, which are vital to the UAE’s identity.
Afra’a Bakhit Saif bin Hindi Al Olayl, who represents the emirate of Ajman in the FNC, stressed that the capacity tests would consolidate moral values and positive attitudes, just like the keenness to measure the cognitive skills and abilities of students.
The MoE had earlier clarified that it applies a regulation to manage pupils’ behaviour in schools, aiming to achieve good Emirati values, which are instilling and strengthening good morals and practising positive behaviour. This regulation, according to the MoE, sets out the mechanisms and controls for the behavioural assessment of students on the basis of respect for personality and feelings.
In a report by a local Arabic language newspaper, Al Olayl, however, highlighted the need to measure the extent to which students have acquired positive attitudes in order to ensure the consolidation of religious, moral and cultural values that are commensurate with the society within the country, similar to tests measuring scientific competencies and abilities.
“The UAE Centennial 2071 is based on four main axes, including education for the future, an axis that is being worked on through continuous work to enhance the level of teaching science and advanced technology among students, especially in the areas of space, engineering, innovation, medical and health sciences,” she said. She also stressed the importance that this axis also includes the consolidation of positive values and moral trends among students.
Al Olayl added: “If we want to achieve the goals related to the consolidation of moral values and positive trends, we have to be keen on evaluating the cognitive skills and students’ abilities. The Ministry of Education must introduce ability or skills tests or other means to measure the level of students in acquiring moral values stemming from our religion and culture.”
The FNC member pointed out that although the MoE’s strategic plan for the academic year takes into account the consolidation of moral principles and Islamic values and seeks to align its strategy with the UAE’s vision, this does not prevent a noticeable decrease in the number of Islamic education classes for students, which may affect the education outcomes.
“Therefore, a mechanism must be developed to measure and evaluate students’ level of acquiring Islamic and moral values and national identity, which ensures that an Emirati school graduate is authentic, as mentioned by the Emirati school guide, compared to the Emirates Standard test (EmSat).”
Al Olayl has called for the need to focus more on the subjects of Islamic education, moral and social education, and literature stressing that the teaching of Islamic education and social studies in some schools was limited to only one lesson per week.
Students’ behaviour is being monitored regularly
The MoE confirmed that there is a continuous development of students’ levels and skills in order to reach the required level, stressing that there is a code of conduct to be followed, through which students’ behaviour is monitored and managed, with the aim of achieving the principles of the Emirati school of instilling and strengthening good morals and practising positive behaviour. It applies to all public education institutions from Grade 3 to Grade 12 and to students in continuing education.
In its response to a parliamentary report on the “Policy of the Ministry of Education”, which was discussed during one of the previous FNC sessions, the MoE said the Student Behaviour Management Regulation aims to “build positive behaviour among students within the school community, improve and strengthen positive behaviours, and reduce behavioural violations, creating the appropriate educational and educational environment to enhance the principle of integrated upbringing.
The guide also aims to apply the principles and culture of encouragement and care in the community to reduce behavioural violations, informing students and parents of their obligations to maintain self-discipline, and providing a controlling reference to deal with students’ behaviour, in addition to ensuring the planning and implementation of mechanisms to solve problems and behavioural violations and their prevention, according to the MoE.
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