Thanks to technological advances, education has made great strides beyond the confines of traditional schooling. The wide availability of information provided by the Internet has caused a shift away from textbook-based memorisation, and towards problem-solving and analytical skills, which have been championed for decades by top curricula such as the International Baccalaureate. Technology in the classroom has made for more engaging, interactive learning experiences that make it easier than ever for students to learn.
However, perhaps one of the most interesting changes in education has been the ability to tailor a child’s education to their pace, needs, and schedule. Here in Dubai, this is most visible in the KHDA’s new initiative, the Rahhal programme.
What is Rahhal?
Rahhal, which means “traveler” in Arabic, is an alternative education programme that allows for greater flexibility in customizing education to each student’s needs. It provides opportunities for homeschooling, schooling carried out by communities, studying at multiple schools, or even taking up jobs while studying. Whatever a student needs, they might just find a place in Rahhal.
Rahhal is the very first project launched within the Dubai 10X initiative, whose goal is to implement within two years what international cities would be implementing ten years in the future. 10X was created by the Dubai Future Foundation to bring disruptive and innovative practices to government bodies.
What does Rahhal offer?
Rahhal allows for a fully-tailored educational experience not just for standard schoolchildren, but also for students who experience SEND, and even adults. In Rahhal, inclusivity goes hand in hand with innovation and customisation.
Rahhal students are able to combine mainstream classroom education with part-time schooling from different institutions, or even be homeschooled by Rahhal-supporting cloud-based education.
Students may also study at several schools at once, for example taking up different classes at other schools, or even going abroad for various courses.
Rahhal allows students to reach their maximum potential no matter who they are, by giving them the freedom of choice in how they want to carry out their studies.
Who benefits from Rahhal?
One of the problems with the classical rigid school structure is that it essentially prevents students from engaging in a lot of long-term extracurricular activities that take place during standard school days. By allowing at-your-pace education, Rahhal enables situations like students training for and participating in athletic tournaments around the world, then continuing their exams and schoolwork whenever they’re home.
With Rahhal, students are also able to extend their studies beyond what would be taught specifically at just one school. For example, students who are interested in advanced engineering, robotics, and other subjects that aren’t taught in their main school, would be able to get classes in other schools that teach them, and have them credited in their studies.
Another benefit to the Rahhal system is that institutions and communities that aren’t traditionally educational, would be able to implement it and be approved by the Dubai government. It also provides another avenue for homeschooling that students will be able to benefit from, as their learning at home will be certified by the government and will be just as valid as any standard educational course.
Finally, the very disruptive nature of Rahhal will force educational institutions to move towards more innovative, technologically advanced learning systems, which will eventually help prepare every student for the future.
The rest of the future
Rahhal is but one of the many steps that education is taking towards the future. Already we see homeschooled students getting tutoring from mentors and teachers from all over the world. The Dubai Ministry of Education has begun a push for AI and robotics instruction in schools.
Swiss International School in Dubai strives to be at the forefront of the march of progress. We implement the International Baccalaureate curriculum, which has proven itself a long-term proponent of the kind of analysis-focused problem solving that is only now spreading its wings throughout the educational community.
We’ve also just started implementing Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizenship Curriculum, which will prepare our students for life in a globalized, connected society that is growing every day. We also provide innovative learning experiences for our students, as well as use of our Innovation Labs for them to explore during and after class hours.