In an initiative aimed at widening the range of teaching models available to children with special needs in the UAE, leading global bank, Barclays, today announced in partnership with the Future Centre for Special Needs the introduction of the Direct Instruction Special Review Assessment (SRA) Curriculum for the first time in the country.
The Direct Instruction teaching model focuses on carefully planned lessons designed around small learning increments with defined and prescribed teaching tasks. It is based on the theory that clear instruction eliminates misinterpretations, which improves and accelerates learning. Based on years of research, the specialised curriculum, specifically meets the needs of students with learning difficulties. The programme called: ‘Setting Special Standards’, involves procuring and implementing the Direct Instruction (SRA) Curriculum with a focus on Pre K to Grade 6 level.
With the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, The Future Centre for Special Needs has been set up to provide education and therapy based services to young individuals with special needs.
Under Barclays Global Community Investment theme: ‘Banking for Brighter Futures’ Barclays has committed AED 111,367 for this initiative. Speaking at the launch, Mr. Michael Miebach, Managing Director for Barclays Middle East and North Africa, Global Retail and Commercial Banking, said, “As a global employer we aim to create an environment in which employees with disabilities can flourish, becoming an employer of choice. Youth and education are intrinsic to Barclays community investment agenda. This is a first step in our partnership with Future Centre for Special Needs and this gives us a valuable opportunity to actively contribute to the wellbeing of children with learning difficulties.”
“The Direct Instruction (SRA) Curriculum will provide a foundation for the children as they transition to qualified and confident adults. We are extremely pleased to be part of an initiative that harnesses children’s skills in their early years giving them the opportunity for a better future,” he added.
Explaining further, Dr. Mowfaq M.A. Mustafa, Director, Future Centre for Special Needs, said, “We are delighted that through the partnership with Barclays we will able to introduce the Direct Instruction (SRA) Curriculum to the Centre. The new teaching model will be taught at the Centre from January 2010, following an initial period of training for the staff. The goal of special education is to educate students so they can reach their full potential. In order to achieve this goal, effective instructional programmes must be used. Such programmes should be scientifically based. Direct Instruction programmes go beyond this scientifically-based requirement and are based on 30 years of research and are tested against other curriculums.
The Barclays led project aims to train 80-90 per cent of the teachers at the Centre. The initiative, which will help reshape the lives of many of the students, is in line with the bank’s sustainability strategy to build a future that youngsters can bank on. Barclays is an active participant in community investment programmes, having invested GBP 52.2 million in community projects around the world in 2008.
The Future Centre for Special Needs, a non-profit organization, serves young individuals affected by autism, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, specific learning physical or motor disabilities and other developmental delay. With 180 young individuals, aged between 3 and 20 years attending the centre, they are proud to have integrated 50 children into mainstream schools and in addition 4 young adults are now in employment. With the Direct Instruction (SRA) Curriculum, the Future Centres hopes to widen the opportunities available for their students.
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