ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates - Thursday, June 2nd 2016 [ME NewsWire]
Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, attended on Thursday the graduation ceremony of the 92 candidates enrolled in the first phase of the “My Dream… My Life” initiative, which was organized in collaboration and partnership with the Ministry of Education, and a number of national institutions. The ceremony was held at the HCT-Dubai Men's College (DMC).
HH Sheikh Saif congratulated the graduated students who took part in the initiative; urging them to pursue further excellence and academic attainment. He also praised the efforts exerted by the sponsors, and all parties who lent their support to the initiative, and expressed his thanks to the team work, and to the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) for their efforts that ensured the success of both the event and initiative.
The ceremony was attended by Her Excellency Jameela Salem Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education; Lt. General Saif Abdullah Al Sha’far, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Interior; and Major General Jassem Muhammad Al Marzouqui, Civil Defense General Commander-in-chief at the Ministry of Interior. Also attending were a number of Undersecretaries at the ministry, senior officers, officials, and teaching faculty at the Al Nukhbah Modern School for Boys in Dubai and students’ parents.
In his speech on the occasion, Major General Khamis Matar Al Muzainah, Commander General of the Dubai Police, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program, said: “We are gathered here today to celebrate an unprecedented and significant event; a watershed moment that augurs ‘a promising future’, envisioned for us by our political wise leadership, which established a groundbreaking ministry, entrusted with preparing for the future and working for the benefit of future generations. This would allow the UAE to retain its leading position amongst developed countries, according to a clear scientific methodology, and to achieve the objectives envisioned by our government. We are also gathered here to celebrate our exceptional children, who are forging ahead diligently towards the future, filled with love and loyalty to the country and their leaders, pledging to serve their country, according to their respective dreams and abilities. Our exceptional youth are the fundamental pillars of the future and the true wealth of the country, and we need to dedicate all of our energy and our resources to support them, as they will carry the torch towards the future. They are the top priority of the higher leadership and we have been entrusted with their well-being by the founding father, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.”
An ambitious national awareness program
Adding further, he said: “The initiative, titled ‘My Dream… My Life’, was launched five years ago upon the directives of Lt. General HH Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, who has entrusted us with the task of preparing an ambitious national awareness program for our students. This leading and innovative program would allow us to efficiently address the challenges faced by our students and would be based on purposeful topics aimed at nurturing good citizens, capable of overcoming present and future challenges. In that spirit, the ‘My Dream… My Life’ initiative became a new vision towards achieving the objective of building knowledgeable generations equipped with enough awareness to properly plan for their future, by acquainting them with the different occupations and their characteristics, as well as the required skills. The Al Nukhbah Modern School was selected to be the first venue to launch this pilot program, as instructed by His Highness.”
Major General Al Muzainah stressed the keenness to ensure the efficiency of both the initiative and its organizers, by forming a team of volunteers that include teachers and counselors, to manage the different aspects of the initiative. “We have conducted two separate studies to validate the results, which revealed an urgent need for such initiatives. Chief among these results is the parents’ satisfaction with the initiative, which amounted to approximately 97 percent; and students’ happiness to take part in this initiative, which amounted to 100 percent. Such results clearly demonstrate the need to create comprehensive national programs to meet the aspirations of our students and community members,” he continued.
Major General Al Muzainah pointed out that the initiative has achieved the coveted objectives, notably reinforcing dialogue and counsel between family members about the suitable career choices and creating the Student Room to help students make more informed education choices, as well as finding effective mechanisms for family advice that influence career choices. He noted that the program has improved logical and prudent decision-making among students, and their understanding of the skills and personal attributes required for each occupation. This falls in line with the program’s objectives aimed at promoting students’ personal development,” he added.
He also explained that parents and teachers surveyed indicated a positive change in students’ attitudes and behaviors, in terms of discipline, commitment, and respect for the values of their career of choice. The results also showed an increase in self-motivation, which prompted students to seek further educational attainment; in order to pursue their dreams and achieve their aspirations. The average academic level of students enrolled in the initiative was 91 percent.
Adding further, Major General Al Muzainah said: “Our program has long-term objectives, and a methodical action plan, to allow students to seek further dreams and aspirations. All measures set forth for the initiative are designed to achieve accurate outcomes towards establishing a leading Emirati model within the timeframe specified for the initiative, which runs until 2021; coinciding with the UAE Vision 2021, when the Emirates Mars Mission orbiter is set to arrive to Mars. To this end, we have been keen to consult with prestigious education leaders, such as the Omar Bin Al Khattab Model School Principal and a number of officials, who took part in the efforts to prepare and design the initiative, in order to fully understand the duties, responsibilities, and obligations that will be entrusted to them upon receiving students in their second education phase.”
Major General Al Muzainah called upon school principals and education leaders to examine this leading national experience and get acquainted with its goals and purpose, being the key tenets of the mission to implement this initiative, each in their respective position. He also stressed the unrelenting commitment to work in accordance with the directives of His Highness Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, to develop a national career guidance program for students that would help to achieve the UAE’s aspirations, students’ dreams, and parents’ hopes.
Major General Al Muzainah praised the close partnership with educational institutions in the country, especially with the Ministry of Education that provided us with the opportunity – based on the directives of the Minister of Education, to achieve the goals of the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program, notably to achieve excellence by nurturing promising generations of Emirati students that would make the country proud, and unifying national efforts amongst the different institutions in the country to build a bright professional future for students. In conclusion, he extended his thanks to the team entrusted with implementing the initiative, led by Marwan Al Sawaleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education, for their diligent efforts, calling upon them to pursue their dedicated efforts to serve students.
The ceremony began with the national anthem and a recitation from the Holy Quran. The graduates then recited a hymn titled ‘Hulumi’ (My Dream), written by poet Dr. Aref Al Sheikh. Attendees watched a documentary film about the ‘My Dream… My Life’ Initiative. Then, Bushra Salem, Principal of Al Nukhbah Modern School, passed the second stage of the ‘My Dream… My Life’ Initiative to Jamal Al Shaiba, Principal of Omar Bin Al Khattab Model School.
Distinguished International Standards
Colonel Dr. Ibrahim Al Dabal, General Coordinator of the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program, said that the initiative, which was launched as part of the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program, upon the directives of H.H Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, is a leading high-quality national initiative based distinguished international standards. “The Al Nukhbah Modern School was chosen to be the pilot venue for the initiative, thanks to its prestigious record. The school principal and its training and supervision staff provided significant cooperation and the necessary resources to ensure the success of the initiative, regardless of difficulties and challenges faced by the team for the past five years,” he explained. It is worth mentioning that the initiative will be implemented in its second stage at the Omar Bin Al Khattab Model School.
Colonel Dr. Al Dabal explained that the initiative is one of the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program ‘Aqdar’ initiatives. More than 50 federal and local parties participated in preparing the program, which aims to address students’ issues. “The program is being implemented by governmental and private institutions in the country, in a way that aligns with their existing awareness programs, aimed at unifying national efforts to nurture generations of students who enjoy comprehensive consciousness and self-esteem, and who are able to meet present and future challenges,” he noted.
He indicated that the process of implementation of the ‘My Dream… My Life’ initiative, which was launched in the 2010/ 2011 academic year, includes three stages, and runs until 2021. “The initiative is a first-of-its-kind in the world in terms of its concept and content. The program’s objectives and outcomes will be studied throughout the 12 years of implementation. The first stage, which targets elementary schools, spans over five years and will conclude soon; the second stage, which targets Middle School students, spans over the course of four years; while the third and last stage, which is designed for high school students, spans three years,” he said. A total of 92 students from Al Nukhbah Modern School for Boys in Dubai were included in the current first stage of the initiative, for being the best governmental school for many years according to the best governmental schools review.
Colonel Dr. Al Dabal pointed out to the program’s mechanisms that include several topics, notably training parents and care givers about the proper ways to deal and guide their children’s aspirations and dreams; acquainting students with the different careers and their characteristics; training teachers on the appropriate ways to provide career choice guidance; inviting professionals to acquaint students with their respective occupations; and visiting relevant institutions and parties.
Outcomes of the “My Dream… My Life” Initiative
Colonel Dr. Al Dabal emphasized that the initiative has achieved significant outcomes within the three key pillars related to the initiative, namely parents, students, and lecturers and trainers. “The initiative has achieved a set of objectives, notably reinforcing dialogue and counsel between family members about the suitable career choices and creating the Student Room to help students make more informed education choices, as well as finding effective mechanisms for family advice that influence career choices.” He noted that the program has improved logical and prudent decision-making among students, and their understanding of the skills and personal attributes required for each occupation.
Adding further, Colonel Al Dabal said: “In order to ensure the success of the initiative, we commissioned a national company specialized in the field of administrative and professional guidance to carry out an in-depth study on the outcomes of the first stage of the initiative. The company was also tasked with collecting, analyzing and developing the necessary elements to design a successful model, based on a set of methods and guidelines required to implement the initiative in various schools nationwide. The data collected during the four-year implementation will be used to establish a model and road map that ensures a comprehensive and effective implementation.” Furthermore, the General Coordinator of the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program “Aqdar” pointed out that a number of meetings were held between the work team and the Yas Management Reform, the prestigious consulting firm, specialized in career guidance and human resources development, to lay down the general framework and the detailed executive steps to prepare this study.
Colonel Dr. Al Dabal indicated that during the principles and objectives of the study include in the first phase: a field and desktop study about international best student empowerment practices; an integrated analytical field evaluation of the progress of the initiative throughout the past five years since its inception; and an integrated analytical desktop study of the best international student empowerment practices and career guidance. The first phase also includes collecting feedback and views of the school counselors and administration, students, and parents regarding the initiative, in addition to collecting feedback of the relevant supporting entities in the labor market.
The second phase of the study includes developing, planning and designing the initiative’s framework, developing its model and the proper approach to implement it at other schools nationwide, based on the outcomes of both the field and desktop study. It also includes developing the appropriate guidelines for implementation, and required training materials for qualifying counselors to deal with the initiative’s model, as well as setting up the necessary models and methods to implement the initiative for students who benefit from the career guidance processes. The third phase would seek to implement the model and established framework of the “My Dream… My Life” initiative, via a set of assessment surveys to identify students’ career preferences, way of thinking and personal attributes. It also aims at acquainting students with the concept of “academic and career opportunities” and how this knowledge would allow academic and career choices, as well as shedding the light on the different occupations and career paths. It will also acquaint students with the concept of “personal development plan” and ways to achieve personal goals. The fourth stage would include the final revision of the model and the final observations. It will also be used to carry out the final adjustments, before submitting the model’s final and comprehensive form to the competent authorities and partners of the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program “Aqdar” for final adoption.
An integrated approach to achieve future career dreams
Colonel Dr. Al Dabal emphasized that the initiative aims to achieve several objectives, notably establishing an integrated methodology to align the efforts exerted by the “My Dream… My Life” initiative’s team with the aspirations of the higher leadership. This would enable students to achieve their dream future careers and establish the “My Dream… My Life” initiative as an institutional framework and an effective applicable model, based on five years of hard work and outstanding efforts. The initiative also seeks to develop and strengthen the capacities and capabilities of school administrations, counselors and parents, by stressing the importance of career guidance that is based on students’ career preferences. This would achieve the desired goals of improving the educational process, so as to serve the aspirations of the country, meet the needs of the labor market and nurture well educated students based on a systematic educational approach.
He explained that the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program aims to enable students to identify the efficiency of the initiative in achieving goals, and assessing its impact amongst the students, parents, teachers and lecturers. To this end, the Program carried out two separate studies that encompass the objectives set out in agreement with people in charge. The first study was conducted by an academic team formed by the Program to assess the impact of the parent-child relationship on children’s future career choice three years into the “My Dream… My Life” initiative. The second study was carried out by Yas Management Reform. The company prepared an extensive study about the efficiency of the career guidance offered by the “My Dream… My Life” initiative and its impact on the possible development of a national model for awareness and career guidance, based on the constructive relationship between the school and the family.
According to the statistics, and in terms of family cohesion, the results revealed an increase of dialogue and counsel between parents and children to exchange views about the choice of the projected future career. About 95 percent of the parents indicated that their current careers did not impact their children’s future career choices, which indicates a decrease in parental pressure to follow parents’ career paths. It also indicates the success of parents’ training and preparation on the proper ways to deal with their children, which ultimately achieves the coveted and ultimate objective of the initiative, in enabling students to take the right career choice based on their preferences and understanding of their future. Approximately 93.4 percent of the parents attributed these outcomes to having received sufficient training by the Khalifa Student Empowerment Program.
According to the first study, 61.1 percent of the students enrolled in the “My Dream… My Life” initiative revealed that they only consulted with their parents pertaining to choosing their future career paths, while 38.9 percent of the students received direct support from their parents to develop their capabilities and skills to meet the requirements of the careers they have chosen. This demonstrates the initiative’s vital role in reinforcing family dialogue and counsel regarding the choice of a career that suits children’s dreams and capacities. Moreover, the study indicated that 86.6 percent of the parents noticed that their children became more skilled and capable of taking a decision related to their career choice. 95 percent of the parents noted that their careers did not influence their children’s career choice, while 61 percent of the students affirmed that they were not pressured to follow their parents’ career paths. 77.7 percent of the students were not pressured by their friends and relatives. This indicates that students are now capable of choosing their future careers (38.8 percent).
The first study also showed an increase in students’ independent career choices, who did not yield to their parents, relatives or friends’ pressure, or follow their parents’ same career path.
Moreover, when it comes to satisfaction with the choice of the future career, 100 percent of the students showed self-satisfaction and pride in choosing their future career. The study revealed that 75.9 percent of the students were doing some extra work to enhance their own capacities and skills related to the career they’ve chosen. As for the general satisfaction with the initiative, 98.1 percent of the students enrolled in the “My Dream… My Life” initiative mentioned they are satisfied and happy about participating in this initiative after five years, which shows the success achieved by the initiative during this period. Parents’ satisfaction about this initiative reached 96.6 percent; which in turn, reflects the positive relationship between parents and students, reinforced by the initiative.
Developing Leadership Spirit
Bushra Salem, Principal, Al Nukhbah Modern School, said that the “My Dream… My Life” initiative aims to develop and instill leadership spirit in students, nurture a confident and responsible generation, encourage them to contribute to the country’s progress, and train them to plan for the future. She added that the initiative is comprehensive; it includes introductory meetings with the program’s staff, as well as workshops for students within the school, field trips to various career locations, to prepare a generation of excellent and top achieving students. In conclusion, she extended her thanks to the teachers that are participating in the project and to student’s parents.
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