His Excellency Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, the Minister of Education, announces a reform to the Physical and Health Education Curriculum across all government schools.
The Ministry of Education have designed a brand new Physical and Health Education curriculum to meet the individual needs of each student and will be implemented in all government schools from January 2017. The objective is to empower young Emirati students to take ownership of their physical education, health and wellbeing to ensure a future generation of healthy, motivated, highly educated Emiratis.
His Excellency Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, the Minister of Education, ensures the Ministry’s vision was derived from the need to adopt a modern and comprehensive curriculum which fosters the student's personality in various aspects and exposes them to the most up-to-date educational practices that promote their determination, give them peace of mind and diversify their skills. This led to the introduction of Physical and Health Education as a subject in the national curriculum, which has been considered a great success.
His Excellency added: “The Ministry of Education has included a series of comprehensive courses for the Physical and Health Education Curriculum purely designed by local efforts yet supported by wider global expertise to meet the individual needs of the students. It has effectively started in Term 2 and aims to empower students with the health and physical literacy skills to ensure a future generation of healthy, motivated, highly educated citizens”.
All Grade Levels
His excellency said: The new Physical and Health Education Curriculum will be delivered to all grades from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and will cover a wide range of physical health and wellbeing and sports science methodologies. Some of these key areas include fitness testing and training, health and wellbeing, diet and nutrition, anatomy and physiology; all of which aim to promote personal and social responsibility.
In line with Vision 2021, the Ministry of Education are making a complete transformation to the current Physical and Health Education system, aligning it to internationally recognised standards.
His Excellency stated: “We are moving forward in Physical and Health Education and progressing from traditional teaching methods by empowering our students to take ownership of their education and lifestyle to improve their health and physical literacy”.
His Excellency indicated: “The benefits of this will have a positive impact across other curriculum areas and ensure we achieve our vision to create a first-rate education system by 2021”.
He mentioned that the Physical and Health Education Curriculum will help develop the fundamental skills to not only improve student health and wellbeing but also help in their all-round development as UAE citizens. As students are continuously developing physically and emotionally, they are especially more susceptible to the positive effects of physical activity and likewise, the negative effects of inactivity.
The Minister also indicated that another key aim of the new curriculum is to raise awareness of the various health indicators such as Body Mass Index (BMI) and its correlation with fat percentages by calculating the height and weight indicator to see an improvement in health and lifestyle. This will also see positive effects on the UAE economy, such as a reduction in costs to healthcare.
His Excellency stated: “The implementation approach provides robust support mechanisms to ensure the quality of delivery is of the highest standards to provide students with a first-rate Physical and Health Education. This will not only improve the health and wellbeing of students but also have a wider positive impact on communities. The Ministry of Education are leading a change to address medical conditions and how they influence the health and wellbeing of students, ultimately promoting a healthier and more productive lifestyle”.
His Excellency Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, stated “The Ministry of Education have designed a strategic plan aiming to establish a first-rate Physical and Health Education system that promotes autonomy and prepares students to lead a healthier lifestyle and thrive in a knowledge-based economy.
This student-centered strategy will focus on key physical and health-related areas that students experience at their most receptive, perceptive and reactive ages. The Physical and Health Education curriculum will enhance school environments and stimulate the best possible student outcomes”.
The approach to the new curriculum sees a shift from old traditional methods to a new high-level system that encompasses a whole range of skills and development areas. A clear curriculum structure supported by a solid infrastructure is in place to ensure the new curriculum is a success and beneficial for all students. Parental engagement is a key element to the success of the new curriculum as students need to be encouraged to form positive lifestyle choices and develop healthy habits that they will carry with them into the future.
His Excellency indicated: “The goals and outcomes of the new curriculum align with the initiatives of the UAE institutions. The Ministry of Education have recently announced an initiative entitled “Be Loyal to your Body” which targets many sports, health, social and psychological topics throughout the different activities”.
The Minister attributed: “Encouraging a bilingual curriculum has various long-term advantage for students. One of the main reasons behind the English component of the curriculum is that it will prepare students for real-world scenarios such as the medical challenges they may encounter in society. The new curriculum uses the novel health and educational practices that are linked to technology to provide medical solutions that don’t yet exist in Arabic.
Another reason is to encourage the students to become familiar with the nutritional information that is written on available products on the market. Vital nutritional information is written in English and not yet available in Arabic. Being able to understand this information in English will guide the students to make healthy choices. Moreover, being bilingual is considered as one of the most important traits of a graduate, and to achieve this, students have to be exposed to their second language in as many different learning environments as possible”.
He added: “The bilingual curriculum was built on physical activities which require the knowledge and familiarity of anatomical terms such as the names of organs and muscles relevant to each activity.
The curriculum focuses on practical and interactive activities where students learn new terms and movements from the books and are assessed through applying the learned interactive activities in their sessions; moving away from the typical forms of assessment such as homework and tests. For the first time in Physical and Health Education, the book is being used as a guide to help familiarise students with specific terminology and the different types of physical activity.
Peter Moore, the Manager of the Physical and Health Education Programme, ensures the new Physical and Health Education Curriculum symbolises a significant change to the education system in the UAE and shows true commitment from the Ministry of Education to have a meaningful impact on the lives of UAE students. The curriculum embraces internationally recognised standards and teaching methods tailored specifically to the UAE.
Peter stated that the Curriculum Development Team for the new Physical and Health Education bring with them an extensive international knowledge and experience of Physical and Health Education and have tailored the content to the needs of the UAE. This will be reviewed and improved each term to make sure the curriculum is progressive in its approach.
Design Robots for Cycle 2 and 3
Fundamental movement skills and the development of competent communication skills are the primary focus of the Cycle 1 Curriculum. The establishment of a strong foundation will instill a positive attitude towards Physical Health and Education and help to develop physically literate individuals with a lifelong participation in sports and physical activity.
Throughout Cycles 2 and 3, the curriculum builds on the foundation skills and knowledge gained in Cycle 1 and places greater emphasis on higher level sports science. Students will study a range of topics and participate in a wide variety of different sports and activities.
To ensure successful delivery of the Physical and Health Education Curriculum, students will be provided with subject specific textbooks that have been authored and designed by a specialised committee from the Ministry of Education. The design of each book has been carefully created in collaboration with Ibtikar Edu-Tech Solutions. A specialised robot design has been created for Cycles 2 and 3 to highlight the importance of biomechanics and to provide clear instructions to students.
The Ministry of Education have exerted a lot of effort to establish and prepare teachers to teach the brand-new curriculum. More than 500 trainees of the Physical and Health Education have attended a training session about the launch of the new curriculum in different venues across the emirates, including the new Teacher Training Centre in Ajman.
The half-day training session included the following topics: themes of the new Physical and Health Education Curriculum, instructions on how to follow a lesson plan set by the Ministry of Education, preparation of fitness assessment included in the new curriculum, and a range of implementation strategy sessions.