UAE school students will soon be able to take online classes from Eton College
Students in UAE schools will be able to enrol in the online courses in September. Source: Shutterstock

Eton College in the UK is an elite independent boarding school (often nown domestically as a college) for boys ages 13-18, located near Windsor Castle in England.

The prestigious college is known for producing notable alumni such as Prince Harry and Prince William, as well as current prime minister Boris Johnson.

In September, students in UAE schools (primarily international schools), can take part in the Future Skills Programme by EtonX, a subsidiary of Eton College.

Teaching students in UAE schools soft skills

According to The National, “Under the programme, pupils will take part in virtual classrooms and work with children from diverse backgrounds to learn soft skills including communication and resilience.

“Pupils between the ages of 14 and 20 will be able to pick from nine courses such as critical thinking, verbal communication, creative problem-solving, entrepreneurship and CV writing.”

The course will be over seven weeks and aims to prepare children on how to address challenges in the future workplace, equipping with them the skills necessary to thrive in a technology-enabled world.

The programme can either be integrated into the school curriculum or as an after-school activity. The National reported, “Pupils will come together every week in groups of eight and meet in a purpose-built virtual classroom with a tutor.

“The courses will follow a flipped learning method for which pupils must come prepared to speak and engage in the lesson.

“Pupils will be able to choose from a self-study model, where they will be given study material that they work through on their own, or a taught course.

“The self-study model costs $59 (Dh217) while the seven-week course taught by a tutor costs $399 (Dh1466).”

Students from UAE schools will also be able to interact with their peers from other countries and learn how to communicate and work with those from different cultures, which are important skills to build in order to succeed in a globally interconnected future.

UAE schools becoming more student-centered

Across UAE schools, there is a growing awareness of skills that go beyond academics, with traditional models such as standardised testing slowly becoming outdated.

According to the GulfNews, “The UAE’s education landscape has been fast evolving as there is an increased emphasis on going beyond curriculum-based learning to the professional development of students through the use of the latest technology and innovative teaching methods.”

Jasmine Anand, COO of Springdales School, Dubai, said, “Learning has moved from being teacher-centred to increasingly student-centred — from being ‘chalk and talk’ to flipped and blended learning — as IT and the internet have become increasingly integrated into the students’ learning experience.”

Therefore, courses that teach communication and public speaking skills are proving very popular in UAE schools.

Catherine Whitaker, Chief Executive and Head of Learning at EtonX, said, “The most popular courses in the UAE are public speaking, making an impact, verbal communication and interview skills.

“There is a climate in the UAE around thinking about education as more than success in exams and that is coming from the government and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai.”

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