“Abu Dhabi schools can provide regional lead on learner-centred education” says Cambridge chief

Published March 10th, 2010 - 09:03 GMT

Abu Dhabi’s schools have the opportunity to provide regional leadership when it comes to learner-centred education, says Ann Puntis, Chief Executive Officer of University of Cambridge International Examinations, speaking ahead of next week’s conference Towards a student-centred classroom, being staged under the patronage of Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) in Abu Dhabi.

“A number of Abu Dhabi’s schools have already embraced the concepts of student-centred education and the benefits can be clearly seen,” she said.  “It clearly provides a head-start for students and its benefits are seen in examination results.”

University of Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) has had a presence in the Middle East region for over 20 years and works with nearly 70 schools in the UAE alone. In Abu Dhabi, CIE is proud to be working with a number of prestigious schools such as Al Nahda School for Girls’, Al Najah School and the International Community School.

A Cambridge international education focuses on developing the skills, knowledge and motivation learners need to succeed in their studies. Teachers are encouraged to develop active learners, who participate rather than passively learn, and develop an enquiring approach within a learner-centred classroom. In this, Cambridge shares a similar approach to that outlined by ADEC in its vision to implement learner-centred classrooms in Abu Dhabi. Research has shown that this approach improves learners’ overall progress and can lead to better performance in examinations.

CIE is the world’s largest provider of international education programmes for 5 – 19 year olds. Cambridge international qualifications, including Cambridge IGCSE and International A/AS Level, are very popular in schools and recognised internationally worldwide.

Al Nahda Girls’ School offers the whole Cambridge International Education programme from Cambridge Primary through to Cambridge International A Level.


Amy Simmons, Principal at A Nahda Girls’ School, first adopted the Cambridge curriculum nearly 20 years ago. She said: ‘We began by offering Cambridge IGCSE and International A Level in the Secondary School.  More recently, we have introduced Cambridge Checkpoint in the Middle School and the Cambridge International Primary Programme in our Primary School.

‘We are proud of our association with University of Cambridge International Examinations because of the high levels of academic performance our students are achieving. CIE syllabuses and curriculum frameworks are of the highest international standards. Parents, students, teachers and administrators continue to be highly satisfied with the way CIE helps prepare students at each level for the next stage of their education.’

International Community School (ICS) has been offering Cambridge IGCSE for 10 years. Mrs Hayat Hammoud, Principal said: ‘At ICS we pride ourselves on being an independent centre for CIE in Abu Dhabi. Over the past ten years of our collaboration, CIE's contributions to our pupils' learning have been invaluable. By constantly updating syllabuses and methods of assessment to meet the requirements of the decade, CIE truly deserves to hold the International flag of education thanks to its ongoing support and worldwide recognition.’

CIE will be holding the conference jointly with University of Cambridge ESOL examinations (Cambridge ESOL) under the patronage of Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) in Abu Dhabi later this month. The conference, entitled Towards a student-centred classroom, will explore the latest research into student-centred approaches to learning and features workshops where schools principals and heads of department are encouraged to be active participants.

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