Students at Dubai’s GEMS FirstPoint School (FPS) will now be able to get work experience at Siemens as part of the regular curriculum.
GEMS Education and Siemens have signed an agreement to increase collaboration and integration between the education sector and industry.
The new partnership comes under Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA)’s Rahhal initiative, which encourages schools to think outside-the-box and develop innovative learning opportunities.
Abdulla Al Karam, chairman and director general at KHDA, said: “This is a first-step towards recognising industry-academia partnerships at the school-level and a reflection of Rahhal’s potential to truly disrupt education.
“We hope the move will encourage students and teachers to co-create cities of the future by working with real-world scientists and innovators. This partnership can potentially encourage many more schools to come forward and partner with Rahhal in an effort to extend learning opportunities outside the classroom.”
As part of the partnership, students at FPS will gain access to industry-level courses and qualifications, support from industry experts, and internships.
They will also have the opportunity to be part of an energy efficiency programme that will be adapted into a case study specific to their school.
“One of our ambitions is to become the first school in Dubai to move off the grid for electricity and to involve students in the plans and implementation of this,” said Matthew Tompkins, principal and CEO of FPS.
“A strong partnership between academia and industry is key to developing sustainable knowledge economies, and ensuring students have the tools and skills they need to succeed,” said Dietmar Siersdorfer, CEO of Siemens Middle East.
“We have a responsibility to invest in future generations so they may embrace the opportunities afforded by a digital economy.”
FPS is also working other companies such as Emirates NBD, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Emirates Airline and Facebook.
“We are also working with universities to ensure every student has the right amount of challenge in their courses as well as working with other GEMS schools to support closer alignment with industry in their chosen areas of specialism,” explained Tompkins.
The school has received an encouraging response to the initiative from both students and parents.
“Because of the way we offer the blended approach within the school, you can follow traditional qualifications, industry-specific qualifications and experiences, and a blend of the two,” said Tompkins.
“At a time when more and more institutions are employing and accepting students into their organisations on portfolio alone, our ability to truly personalise the learning pathway ensures both engagement and relevance for all,” he added.
Looking ahead, the collaborative approach taken by FPS is set to become a blueprint for other schools in the region, opined Tompkins.
“Schools of the future will evolve into hubs of learning, connecting young people with a personalised menu of opportunities linked to industry. Not all of these opportunities will be available at school; some will be in the workplace or in different learning institutions, while others will be accessed via cutting-edge technology from anywhere in the world.
“The future of education is being developed right now, and this calls for a pioneer to pull all the opportunities together. GEMS FirstPoint School is that pioneer,” he added.
To find out more about the school and the courses offered, click here