His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, has visited the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge to review progress on strategic education initiatives and to approve the implementation of innovative approaches to learning.

During the visit, His Highness endorsed plans to further improve learning outcomes for every student through enhanced performance assessment programmes in collaboration with schools. HH also reviewed progress on the successful pilot phase of the Graduate Competency Framework - a new educational approach that will equip students with future-ready skills, and directed ADEK to roll out the Graduate Competency Framework across private and charter schools for the 2022-2023 academic year. 

The Graduate Competency Framework (GCF) is a game-changing new educational approach that will prepare generations of resilient and inspired lifelong learners across Abu Dhabi’s schools.  

Designed by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), the new framework will enhance the academic journey of students in grades 1-12 in private and charter schools in the emirate through competency-based learning, delivering vital new skills to prepare students for the future.

The framework will be supported by an interconnected ecosystem of schools, parents, and government to provide, parents, guardians, teachers, and other education stakeholders with guidance on the new competencies young people will acquire during their school education journeys.  

It will see students master 21 skills across seven key competencies: entrepreneurship, teamwork, critical thinking, cognitive agility, global citizenship, digital fluency and financial literacy. Its launch follows successful pilot projects in 10 schools in Abu Dhabi, which saw students taught modules in digital fluency and financial literacy.

“This framework will ensure our educational approach is fit-for-purpose in the 21st century and our students are ‘future proofed’ to face its challenges and seize its opportunities,” explained Her Excellency Sara Musallam, Chairman of ADEK. ”Our students will be able to master transversal skills in ‘real-life’ contexts and apply them in their areas of interest. We intend to equip every Abu Dhabi student with the skills, competencies, and values to succeed in life, as future-ready, respectful global citizens and responsible leaders with an embedded culture of independent, lifelong learning. We will prepare them for life as adults in their communities, for further studies, and for entering the workplace.”

ADEK will work with schools to integrate the competency-based framework into their curriculum via dedicated resources supported by project-based turnkey modules, co-curricular activities, public and private partnerships, and competitions. Schools’ senior leadership teams and teachers will be trained to implement the framework’s competencies, with teachers empowered to deliver learning modules as they see fit for their students.

“Teachers will have the freedom to use varying formats of monitoring and assessment to qualify their students’ progression in the core concepts and competencies,” added HE Sara Musallam. “Schools will assess students’ competencies progress at the end of every cycle, with grade 12 students graduating with transversal skills to support them in higher education and their future careers. To realize this goal, we are improving school academic programs, upgrading policies, compliance requirements and inspection protocols, and strengthening parental engagement. We have already begun engaging industry partners to co-produce content and challenges students will be trained to surmount.”

The framework’s launch, which represents a shift in Abu Dhabi’s educational approach and eco-system, aims to further elevate the nation’s global educational indices rankings. Last November, the UAE ranked first globally in three indices related to the Sustainable Development Goal 4 of Quality Education, including guaranteeing inclusive and equitable quality education, and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all. The UAE also ranked first in the Primary Education Enrolment and Literacy Index of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report.

“The framework reinforces the country’s leadership in the provision of quality education. It is a transformational, future-focused approach that further facilitates the realisation of Abu Dhabi’s vision of a globally competitive, knowledge-based economy,” added HE Sara Musallam.