According to a recent YouGov survey, parents in the UAE are increasingly aware of the importance of selecting a school curriculum that teaches skills that are essential for future careers. In fact, 95% of UAE parents recognize the importance of checking a school’s curriculum to ensure it covers the required skills for future jobs. According to the survey, parents believe that the top three important skills required will be creative/innovative thinking (75%), emotional intelligence (70%) and languages (70%).
Experts have talked about the changing face of jobs for the future. The World Economic Forum (WEF) report in 2016 revealed that some of the most in-demand occupations/specialisms did not exist ten or even five years ago. The pace of change in the business and government sectors is set to accelerate again over the next few years. WEF also reported later in 2017 that employers’ top ten most-desired skills by 2020 include complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, people management, judgement and decision-making, negotiation, service orientation, coordination, cognitive flexibility – practical and emotional skills.
The survey conducted by YouGov showed that 80% of UAE parents believe schools are preparing their children for future careers. Across 17 different curricula from American, British, Emirati, International Baccalaureate (IB) or Indian, each has an individual mission and vision for a child’s education. Some focus more on the academic content and traditional learning methods, others are mapping to the trends that deliver an all-rounded education across subjects with self-learning and bilingualism to prepare for future jobs that currently do not even exist.
The teaching methods are also constantly evolving. In recent years, the market has witnessed an increase in the number of schools offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB Curriculum). In Dubai, five out of 13 new schools that opened in September 2018 offer full IB Curriculum and prior to this, 14 full IB schools existed in Dubai.
More and more parents are seeking this curriculum that became the most sought-after qualification for university entry for it is inclusive of the above-mentioned skills to prepare the workforce of the future. The International Baccalaureate aims to holistically develop an open-minded student, through a diverse curriculum geared towards independence, understanding of knowledge theory, and engagement with real-world issues. This is the nature of the “Creativity, Activity, Service” (CAS) project that characterizes the IBDP, and sets it apart from other curricula in how it fosters students who aren’t just academically competent, but also well-rounded in a variety of ways. Harvard University recognises that students with good CAS performances have qualities and skills that other students don’t possess.