Green Articles

24 Sustainable Schools
 for Abu Dhabi, Al Ain

This article was written by Olivia Olarte for Khaleej Times Online and published on February 21, 2012. Reprinted here with permissions.

Sustainable SchoolsAs part of the comprehensive plan to revamp the public education system in the emirate, 24 new sustainable schools are slated to be built in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Delivery of the new schools will be done in phases.

In Abu Dhabi, the new campuses will be constructed in Al Shamkha, Bani Yas, Al Shawamekh, Al Bahia and the new Al Falah while the Al Ain schools will be in Al Yahar, Al Foaa, Zakher, Al Bateen, Al Muwaiji, Al Qattara, Al Salamat, Al Shuwaib, Al Wagan and Al Qua.

The exact locations are still being studied by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) taking into account the growing population in these remote areas.

The approval to construct the 24 green schools was given to ADEC last month by the Executive Council – Abu Dhabi, boosting the education authority’s efforts to provide an ‘attractive, safe and flexible learning environment’. By 2018, ADEC plans to build 100 schools and replace ageing schools with modern and sustainable school buildings across the emirate.

“All new schools conform to the sustainability system developed in order to ensure the optimal use of energy and water resources. It aims to preserve the environment through minimizing print and waste. No materials that could cause harm to students, staff or the environment is used. Natural daylight and latest cooling systems are used to enhance the school environment and reduce energy consumption,” said Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Director General of ADEC.

Two design models are used for the new schools, which range in floor areas of between 30,000 sq m and 40,000 sq m, and can accommodate up to 1,250 students. Mixed-gender Cycle 1 (Grades 1-5) schools will be separated by the administration building.

The new campuses will boast of classrooms equipped with the latest learning technologies, fully-furnished libraries, modern IT infrastructure, and surrounded by spacious greenery and landscape. Each school will also have an auditorium, gym and a swimming pool which can be used by the community after school hours.

Hamad Al Dhaheri, ADEC’s Division Manager of Infrastructure and Facilities, explained the delivery phases of the new schools.

Thirteen new schools will be opened by 2013-2014, five in Abu Dhabi and eight in Al Ain. These include two in Al Shamkha, two in Bani Yas and one in Al Shawamekh in Abu Dhabi. In Al Ain, two in Al Yahar, two in Zakher and one campus each in Al Bateen, Al Foaa, Al Yahar and Al Jimi.

For 2014-2015 academic year, 10 government schools will open up including three in Abu Dhabi and seven in Al Ain. In Abu Dhabi, the new campuses will be in the new Al Falah area, Baniyas and Al Bahia, and Al Ain will have the new schools in Al Qattara, Al Muwaiji, Al Salamat, Al Yahar, Al Shuwaib, Al Neama and Al Foaa.

In addition to the above schools, the Executive Council also approved the construction of a Chinese School and refurbishment of 10 schools in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

Building of housing compounds for teachers in the Western Region including Al Shuwaib, Al Wagan, Al Qua, Madinat  Zayed, Al Merfaa and Al Selaa are also in the pipeline with construction scheduled to start in the coming weeks. A housing compound with 52 residential units will be constructed in Al Shuwaib, while two compounds with 78 residential units each will be created in Al Qua and Al Wagan.

The housing compounds will have social clubs, greenery areas, and indoor and outdoor sports areas to cater to teachers and their families. Twenty three new schools were opened across the emirate this academic year, including 14 new schools and Kindergarten in Al Ain.

According to ADEC figures, new enrollees at public schools last year have seen an increase of between 10 and 14 per cent in Kindergarten and Cycle 1.

Humaid Abdulla, Manager of Student Services Division at ADEC, attributed this to the growing ‘trust’ of Emirati parents to the public education as a result of the implementation of the new school model.

“We saw that UAE nationals prefer government schools especially at the KG1 level. There was also a migration of students from KG1 to KG2 and between Grades 1-3 to government schools,” he stated.

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