A total of 223 teachers from 15 schools were assessed as part of the National Qualifications Authority (NQA) and Knowledge and Human Development Authority’s (KHDA) Teacher and Educational Leadership Standards (TELS) licensing scheme.

More than 100 teachers across Dubai’s private schools have just become the first batch of licensed teachers in the emirate. And by 2020, that figure is expected to rise to 25,000.

Among the 106 graduates who were honoured on Monday, the only principal to participate (Richard Drew from Jumeira Baccalaureate School), said he wanted to “lead by example”. And thankfully for him, he passed with flying colours.

Piloting its first batch of teachers in September 2016, the NQA and KHDA will now introduce the first phase of the mandatory national teacher licensing in September.

The aim is to train and fully licence “about 25,000 teachers in Dubai by 2020”.

“We’re looking to license around 5,000 to 6,000 teachers, annually,” Dr Naji Al Mahdi, Chief of Qualifications and Awards at the KHDA told Khaleej Times.

The main focus of the TELS scheme, which evaluates participants in four teacher and educational leadership standards including: ‘ethics and conduct’; ‘professional knowledge’; ‘professional practice’; and ‘professional growth’, is about “pedagogy, not just knowledge”, Al Mahdi said.

During the pilot phase of the licensing project, the participating teachers were split into two categories: ‘existing teachers’ and ‘Teach Best’ teachers (new teachers).

Of the 138 teachers who took part without an international teaching licence, 92 passed the final exam (66.6 per cent); and of the 51 teachers with an international licence, a 100 per cent pass rate was recorded. Additionally, of the 34 ‘Teach Best’ teachers who participated, 30 passed (88.2 per cent).

During the process, participating teachers were required to complete a lengthy self-assessment before sitting four separate exams across the four standards. However, those with an international licence only had to complete the first exam on ‘ethics and conduct’.

Although the pilot phase consisted of a lengthy 14-step process for teachers, Al Mahdi said the plan now is to streamline this to just “six steps by the September launch”.

“Because this was a pilot phase, the process was externally driven, but come September it will be heavily internally driven by the schools themselves,” he said.

School administrations will now be tasked with registering their teachers for the licensing scheme over the next four years, and talks as to whether this licence will become internationally recognised are ongoing.

“We are actually becoming members of international organisations that issue teacher licensing. So once we explain what our licence is and once two or three batches come out, we can then share and see where our licence fits into the international standard.”

But what if a teacher fails the exam? Speaking to Khaleej Times, Al Mahdi said it will implement a cap of “three attempts” on exam sitting.


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