Microsoft names GEMS Cambridge International School – Dubai as the only Global Pathfinder School in the UAE

Press release
Published December 4th, 2012 - 06:56 GMT

Microsoft has announced that GEMS Cambridge International School - Dubai (CIS Dubai), has been added to the 64 Microsoft Innovative Pathfinder Schools from around the world. CIS is the only school in the UAE to be recognised as a global Pathfinder school.

Microsoft Gulf launched a new chapter in its Innovative Schools Program, which named the new Pathfinder Schools and Mentor Schools from 51 countries. These schools were chosen based on their strong school leadership, an established record of innovation and successful change implementation.

Cambridge International School has demonstrated student success outperforming students both in the UK and internationally at IGCSE and A Level, as well as being at the forefront in the UAE of developing   high quality vocational curriculum pathways for its students. In addition it is a great showcase for how rethinking curriculum design, bringing innovation to scale for a district, and creating a climate for technological advancement through professional development can improve learning environments to make a real impact on transforming education.

CIS Dubai has also been successfully leading the implementation of the Microsoft IT Academy Program in the school for the past three years. The school has a proven track record of success in both academic and extra-curricular activities. Their record of success rests not only on the efforts of students, but also on the dedication of the staff. A great deal of emphasis is placed on staff training and development and on maintaining a thoroughly up-to- date study programme for all students.

“This is an inspiring example of how school leaders can push boundaries and drive real change by captivating students’ interest in learning through creative teaching with technology,” said Azza El Shinnawy, Citizenship and Education Lead Microsoft Gulf . “We know technology alone does not improve student outcomes, but schools with dynamic staff like these are models for why we need to scale more broadly. They show others how to undergo systematic change and increase teacher professional development to make a difference for students. We would like to congratulate them on their leadership within Education,” she continued.

The Microsoft Innovative Schools program is an educational program that is part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning Program, a 10-year, nearly $500 million commitment to help transform education systems around the world by connecting teachers and school leaders in a community of professional development. The Innovative Schools program helps school leaders transform their school communities into environments that foster innovative teaching practices and 21st century learning by providing the tools and resources needed for greater impact on educational transformation and student preparation. Through the program, school leaders become part of a global learning community and get access to expert advice and mentoring. A key component of the program is for each school leader to build sharable assets and create tools for other schools to leverage.

First-Year Participants:

Microsoft Innovative Pathfinder and Mentor Schools are making the most of these benefits provided to them and are selected through a rigorous application process that includes written and video documentation. Pathfinder Schools have demonstrated a record of innovation that has transformed education and improved student outcomes in their education systems and local communities.

“We are pleased to be part of Microsoft’s Pathfinder School programme this year.  At CIS Dubai we value the contribution teachers make to the learning of young people and will continue to invest in teachers’ professional development to accelerate their understanding of this process.  Innovation, seeking new ways to approach young people’s learning and sharing good professional practice are keys to improving teaching and learning methods in the classroom, and we look forward to our exciting new partnership with Microsoft in this regard.” David McLaughlin, Principal/CEO, Cambridge International School, Dubai.

The following is the school inducted as a Pathfinder School from the UAE this year:

Cambridge International School, Dubai is a school divided into three sections: Early Years (to Year 2), Middle (Years 3-8) and Senior School (Years 9-13). CIS Dubai is a part of the global network of GEMS Education. Outstanding teaching, the variety of opportunities and good facilities are just some of the traits that make CIS Dubai one of the best in the city. As a Microsoft Pathfinder School, CIS-Dubai has been recognized as a school which has demonstrated they are passionate about technology and have a strong vision for transforming their learning environment. This program offers students and teachers the opportunity to further enhance their use of ICT tools with high levels of engagement, communication, collaboration and leadership opportunities. In addition to this, the school will have access to a shared learning community, where they are able to share best practice examples with other schools around the globe.

Further collaboration with the selected Pathfinder school:

Throughout the upcoming year, Microsoft Gulf will be working closely with CIS Dubai to support school leaders understand and implement change at the school level to allow for a professional environment that supports innovative teaching and learning. Ultimately it’s about making sure that students are leaving school with the right skills to work in a new globalized economy.

Representatives from the 2012–2013 Pathfinder and Mentor Schools will attend the Partners in Learning Global Forum, Nov. 28–Dec. 1 in Prague, Czech Republic. While there, these representatives will have the opportunity to participate in professional development workshops and network with innovative instructors from around the world who have been recognized by the program this year.

The Innovative Schools Program is open to any primary or secondary school worldwide that has a focus on creating a culture of innovation that advances the use of Microsoft technology in the learning process, as well as enables students to develop 21st century skills. Schools must sign up for the Partners in Learning Network, a free network giving school leaders and teachers access to a broad range of resources, content, assessment tools, training events, videos, monthly virtual universities, participation in local-level Partners in Learning forums and the Partners in Learning School Research tool to help measure their own innovation. Those schools seeking a deeper level of engagement in the program can then apply to become a Microsoft Innovative Pathfinder School and work toward achieving Microsoft Innovative Mentor School status.

Background Information


Microsoft enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

GEMS Education

In 1959, two teachers, KS Varkey and his wife Mariamma, arrived in Dubai. 

At the time, Dubai was a burgeoning trade centre on the Arabian Gulf. The Varkey family had left Kerala, India to seek a better life for their family. What they found was a real need to educate children arriving in the city from around the world.

Their son, Sunny, added a visionary’s ambition to a practitioner's experience. From simple roots in a family of teachers, GEMS Education, is today an international company with schools and education services across the Middle East. We still share the same mission - to provide a quality education to everyone.

Check out our PR service

Signal PressWire is the world’s largest independent Middle East PR distribution service.


Sign up to our newsletter for exclusive updates and enhanced content