First phase of the professional teacher certification scheme launched in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
More than 5,000 public and private high school teachers will be the first to register for the new system to obtain professional licences in the UAE.
The Ministry of Education said it had identified 5,076 government teachers working in Grades 10, 11 and 12 who would be required to sign up for the first phase of the scheme launched yesterday in Abu Dhabi.
This phase only applies to public high school teachers who teach Arabic, English, mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology.
It said it was gathering data on teachers in private schools that teach the ministry curriculum to determine which ones should join the first phase of licensing.
The new system has been in the works since 2013, when the Cabinet authorised a resolution establishing a committee to professionalise teaching.
The move is part of the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda, which seeks to increase the number of highly skilled teachers, principals, vice principals and cluster managers, raise the high school graduation rate and place the Emirates among the top performing nations in the international assessments, Pisa and Timss.
The UAE employed about 22,325 teachers and staff across 659 public schools during the 2016-2017 academic year. The 567 private schools employed 42,345 education staff during the same time period, the ministry said.
By the end of 2020, all public and private school teaching staff will be required to hold a ministry licence.
“The teachers licence system will contribute to achieving a set of objectives aiming to raise the level of students’ education in the light of modern and global best practices and focus on the continuous development of the teachers,” said Jameela Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education.
The ministry said the teachers who will take part in the first phase would receive an email directing them to a ministry website, where they would register and submit their credentials.
When the registration is completed, the applicants will receive a second email detailing the time and place in which they must sit the first of two exams they must pass to attain a licence.
The first exam, which will be next month, will assess their knowledge of the subject they have been hired to teach.
In September, they will sit the second test, which measures their knowledge of teaching methods in one of four standards – ethical conduct, or professional knowledge, practice or growth.
The tests take on average about two and a half hours to complete, said Rawdha Al Marar, the ministry’s director of professional licensing.
Teachers who pass both tests will be issued a licence which will be valid for between one and three years, depending on the teacher’s qualifications, experience and performance.
Those who fail will be given two chances to resit after completing ministry-approved training programmes tailored to their needs.
“Failing doesn’t mean that they failed explicitly. It means that they require training in certain areas, areas that we would like them to be more developed in before we license them,” Ms Al Marar said.
The ministry said that for now there would be no charges for registering, assessing or training teachers during this first phase.
No nationalities will be exempt from sitting the exams, although the ministry is working on establishing equivalencies for teachers who hold professional licences in other countries, Ms Al Marar said.
“What we want to do at the beginning is we would like all of the teachers to undergo this examination because we would like to measure the UAE against other educational systems,” she said.
“We are developing the system of equivalency with many institutes and we are trying to cover different countries. But we wouldn’t announce the countries until we have a full list.
“Again, we don’t want anyone panicking about this. The goal is to license everyone and it’s a matter of developing our educational system,” Ms Al Marar said.
Training teachers during this first phase of licensing.
During this initial phase, no nationalities will be exempt from writing the exams. The ministry is still working on establishing equivalencies for expatriate teachers who hold professional teaching licenses foreign countries. For now, no exemptions will be issued, said Ms Al Marar.
“What we want to do at the beginning is we would like all of the teachers to undergo this examination because we would like to measure the UAE against other educational systems,” said Ms Al Marar. “We are currently developing the system of equivalency with many institutes and we are trying to cover different countries, especially the ones that we referenced at the beginning when we started doing the UAE license. But we wouldn’t announce the names of the countries at this time until we have a full list. Again, we don’t want anyone to start panicking about this. We would like the operation to go smoothly. The goal is to license everyone and it’s a matter of developing our educational system.”
Source: The National