The Ministry of Education has undertaken a major development on social studies and national education for grades 1-9 within its plans for the school year 2017-2018. This is in line with the Ministry’s vision and philosophy on such subjects that develop and enhance the students’ national identity and personality, in accordance with the National Standards Framework on the Criteria for Social Studies & National Education of 2014.
This development comes from the Ministry’s belief in the importance of social studies and national education which are considered to be the centre of all school curriculums. It is related to the building of personalities, instilling the values of national identity, the practise of good citizenship which is an incubator of human function in history, geography, political science, economics, sociology and psychology, and the foundation from which humans move towards the future.
Aisha Al Muhairi, Head of the Evaluation & Experimentation Department, and Head of Social Studies & National Education Committee, said that the development process required the formation of an exceptional national work team with high skills, as well as the formation of a joint higher committee from the Ministry of Education and Abu Dhabi Education Council. This is in addition to cooperation with special local authorities to obtain various resources of knowledge that help the objective of developing social studies and national education. Thereafter, the subject was developed based on scientific study that is devoted to the concept of national identity that keeps abreast of developments in modern national concepts, the requirements of openness to the world, and human civilizations full of unique knowledge and experiences.
She indicated that the major development on social studies and national education responds to the wise Leadership’s directions and current national priorities. The development is in line with modern educational practises, which are centred on the notion of integration between the various curriculums, whereby the subject included exercises and activities in support of such goals, especially within the subjects of science, mathematics, Arabic language and Islamic education. It also includes special contents on human civilizations, martyrs and their sacrifice, habits of “سنع”, the traditions of UAE society, the concept of happiness and tolerance within a national framework. She noted that the Ministry has backed the subjects of social studies and national education with learning resources supportive of the curriculum which contribute to the dedication of the desired learning results.
She clarified that the national standards related to social studies and national education focus on introducing students to the influence of personalities, events and important developments and their role in forming societies during various specific periods and at difference places. The subjects also increase students’ awareness about earth and the extent of its connection with human interactions, to reach an understanding of mutual relationships between human societies and the surrounding physical environment. Such standards also contribute to developing the feeling of belonging and loyalty to the United Arab Emirates, its society, and adherence to its values and ethics through the understanding of social relationships between members of its community. Students also learn more about their community’s causes, the level of development within their country, and the efforts exerted by the UAE government in this field. Furthermore, it familiarizes students with economic principles and regulations, the operation of markets, and the role of the government in developing both the national and international economy.
She indicated that the philosophy behind the development of social studies and national education will achieve correlation and integration between social studies and other subjects in grades 1-9. It will also aid in the building of citizens who can bear responsibility towards their country and community that are open to all civilizations, the development of international awareness, understanding of customs and cultures of different people, concentration on the skills of our age and time and social relationships. These are in addition to addressing topics that are at the forefront of global attention such as environment and climate and the importance of preserving them, and focusing on international and local contemporary issues. It also contributes to establishing good comprehension of oneself and expansion of student’s knowledge and ability to accommodate information around the scientific and technological revolution.
She added that the main goal in developing the subjects of social studies and national education is a noble one that seeks to instil the values of citizenship in the minds of student in a scientific and studied manner, and to deepen their sense of national responsibility which will enable them to convert those national values into daily practise.
Articles within the subjects of social studies and national education hold contemporary titles that reflect the extent to which they correspond to local and international events and global issues that require awareness such as the environment and climate. Such titles include “processions for martyrs”, “country of happiness”, “local environment”, “nuclear energy”, “human civilizations” and “soft power”.
In order to ensure that the required learning results are achieved and that the contents of the developed subject are delivered to students through a high standard of professionalism, a unity with a training department within the Ministry was established to provide training packages on the objectives and structure of the developed curricula within the subject of social studies and national education. The Ministry also developed a student assessment guide to assist teachers in evaluating students’ performances and skills which they must possess by year end. The guide will also help parents understand the method under which their children are assessed. It will clarify the connection between the subject’s criteria and learning results, and will determine the extent of students’ progress and interaction with the subject as well as familiarize teachers with the types of examinations and methods of analysis and application thereof.
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