On the topic of leadership, school leaders ought to be aware and open to change by setting an example instead of transmitting knowledge in a classroom.
“We [as teachers and school leaders] tell them [students] about the importance of taking risks but we are reluctant to take risks ourselves,” Dr Al Karam said.
“Very soon the greatest risk will not be change but in staying the same.”
One way the KHDA is helping to shift education in Dubai is by building awareness around the need to develop a greater sense of well-being among all stakeholders in education.
In 2017, the city’s education regulator launched a five-year census to gauge student well-being in schools with the aim to improve their welfare. The project included 65,000 students across 170 schools in Dubai. The aim of focussing on well-being is enabling parents to select schools based on the level of pastoral support offered to students.
Dr Al Karam said last year his organisation also worked to create well-being among adults in schools, helping them to make changes to improve their lives. He said helping individuals discover their purpose greatly enhanced their sense of well-being.
“If we have purpose in our lives, we can derive meaning from helping others,” Dr Al Karam said.
“If we can lift ourselves up when life pulls us down it is because we have developed a strong sense of well-being.”
In his key note address at the Positive Education conference NAE’s Education Director Andy Puttock said it was important to build a culture around developing well-being in schools, and stressed his commitment to the cause.
“The higher a place we can give well-being in our schools the better off we will be,” he said.
The process starts with reassessing our values, Dr Al Karam said.
“We need to change what we value in education,” he said.
“We can listen to education leaders, teachers, parents and students and bring them together to talk about our strengths and the positive changes we can make. The shift is happening already.”