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UAE: Expert says schools should focus far beyond academics – News

Event in Dubai to discuss the need to reinvent conventional approaches to learning in response to rapid technological advances

Ted Purinton at Global Educational Supplies and Solutions in Dubai.

Published: Monday, October 30, 2023, 7:04 p.m.

Students in the UAE are keen to embrace technology, but adults sometimes encourage them to follow conventional approaches to learning, an expert has said.

Ted Purinton, founding dean of the Sharjah Academy of Education, said students are prepared for the 21st century, but adults are trying to fit them into a 20th-century model. He was speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) in Dubai.

Purinton will speak on “The artificial (but solvable) discontinuity between secondary and tertiary” at the event.

He said schools play a crucial role in raising well-rounded individuals and their focus should extend far beyond academics.

Shedding light on the ‘K-12 Tertiary Education Transition and Work’, one of the topics that will be discussed later in the conference, he continued: “In Sharjah, there are 11 different curricula among the nearly 130 schools. “There is a lot of emphasis on the qualifications that the school offers, and many of these qualifications are aimed at university admissions, disciplines and placements that have to do with jobs.”

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He noted that it is necessary to reconsider traditional disciplines in education, suggesting the desire to introduce new ideas and approaches in primary and secondary schools, as well as in early childhood education.

“We need to explore ways to progress beyond certain disciplines, axioms and traditional characteristics that maintain that (traditional) system. How can other elements be incorporated into secondary and primary schools and even early childhood education?”

Purinton emphasized the importance of a play-based approach in early education. “In many schools that offer early childhood education in the country, you see an incredible push towards academics. But the reality is that they are not exactly the skill set that three, four or five-year-olds need.”

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