To be a better fit for the future and prepare the next workforce, 89 per cent parents agree that the current curriculum, system, and classroom need to change. That’s according to a new survey conducted by Cambridge International-backed school, My Online Schooling.
My Online Schooling, one of the first British online education schools in the region, conducted its first edition of the research survey, polling 500 parents in the UAE to get an insight on the evolved needs of parents and trends in the education sector.
Key themes from the survey included reforming classroom and curriculums to focus more on mental health, hybrid learning, extracurricular activities, and high school fees.
Shifting focus in classrooms and curriculums
When asked what changes parents would like to see in the classrooms and curriculums, 56 per cent stated they wanted more focus on mental health and well-being, followed by renewed focus on developing softer skills such as empathy and confidence voted by 50 per cent parents, and 49 per cent of parents desired a greater focus on STEM subjects.
These needs of parents are aligned with UAE government’s new educational goals and changes, announced in May, of prioritising mental health and continued focus on teaching STEM subjects to nurture the future workforce.
While most schools in the country have returned to traditional in-person learning, research results show that parents are still keen on hybrid learning models and the flexibility it offers. The survey also found that 40 per cent parents want more focus on a hybrid model of education, which allows parents flexibility with their and their children’s schedules. In addition to flexibility, extra-curricular activities were also important to parents with 37 per cent looking for further focus on sports and performing arts.
- UAE Golden Visa expanded: These 15 questions will help you know if you're eligible
- UAE: Nutrition strategy to combat obesity and encourage healthy eating
- UAE to get new IIT Delhi campus, India’s Lok Sabha discusses
Rising school costs
Unsurprisingly, the rising costs of living have also impacted the education sector and in return, the parents. While the Dubai government has frozen private tuition fees for three years in a row, high education costs remain a concern for parents. My Online Schooling’s survey shows that 87 per cent parents are concerned that rising school fees will mean that their child could miss out on receiving a decent quality of education in the future. In fact, over half (52%) of parents surveyed said that cost of schooling fees is the biggest factor that affects their school choices. Other vital factors that impact the decision, as per parents, include proximity of the school to home (42%), the school’s performance in STEM subjects (38%), extracurricular activities offered (29%), and KHDA ratings (29%).
Commenting on the results of the study, the school’s founder, Tom Crombie, commented: “The pandemic shaped new behaviours across sectors, and at home alike with mental health and empathy taking the centre stage. The survey results are unsurprising as parents are more informed of their children’s needs as well as the learning environment, they would like to place their child in. While the education ecosystem is transforming globally, I want to commend the UAE government’s efforts on implementing the necessary changes and bringing the conversations around mental health and innovation at the forefront.”
“At My Online Schooling, we are mental health advocates and do not believe in the one-size-fits-all approach. Hence, we offer extra support to students through anxiety, social skills and role model classes to ensure students are getting adequate support and developing the right soft skills for the future. Along with this, we are committed to providing the leaders of tomorrow with high-quality education that focuses on innovation by leveraging technological tools that further enhance the curriculum and classroom delivery. Our aim is to offer our students with an engaging and interactive experience in the class that shapes the leaders of tomorrow.”