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Amol Vaidya, the Senior Director of Operations at Global Indian International School Dubai, speaks about the school, the facilities it offers, and why it moved to a brand new campus in Dubai
Tell us about Global Indian International School? When was the first school established and where?
The first campus was established in Singapore in the year 2002 with 42 children. this was the first CBSE School in Singapore. The government then gave a closed down school in Queenstown Singapore where a larger campus was developed. Over the years the group activities have spread over 7 countries into 21 campuses.
As we were growing keeping in mind the requirement of the South Asian parents’ other curriculums like IB and IGCSE were added in addition to CBSE and all major campuses now have multiple curricula on offer to the discerning parents/students. Our Dubai campus is also approved to offer IBDP along with the CBSE.
Why did you move the Dubai campus to a new location?
The decision was based purely on the fact that we wanted the scope to offer better learning means and programs at an affordable price to the parents. The COVID pandemic has created a situation where the economy of education remains a key factor for all parents. At the same time, the quality of education could not have been reduced. This was better possible in the new campus.
Which board of education does GIIS follow?
Currently, we offer CBSE up to Grade 10, which will progress naturally up to Grade 12. In near future, we will be completing the process for IB DP (IB Diploma) accreditation and that shall also be available to all students.
What makes GIIS different from other schools in the city?
GIIS is acknowledged globally for following curricula with the best enhancement and is known for providing all-around opportunities for the students enrolled. Our award-winning early year programs GMP+ [Global Montessori Plus] ensures that the children’s interests are carefully planned and supported.
The children are exposed to a variety of exciting and positive experiences and hands-on activities which enables them to explore and invigorate their interests. They are encouraged to think, find things and talk about them. The integration of all the learning areas provides ample opportunities for children to make connections between their experiences.
Individual attention is given to all the Children including the SEN, Weak and Struggling and Gifted. The curriculum is an amalgamation of the best international practices inspired by the Montessori, EYFS and CBSE curriculum to ensure smooth progression to formal school where CBSE is followed.
R.E.A.D Programme emphasizes listening, speaking , reading and writing skills which inturn makes comprehension strong. The books used are ORT (Oxford ReadinG Tree). Reading website is tracked by using websites like RAZ PLUS. Kindergarten Petting Zoo and Al Boustan help children to develop positive emotions towards animals and understand non-verbal communication. It facilitates critical thinking and collaboration.
Our nine GEMS award-winning pedagogy for grades 1-12 ensures holistic development of the child on 9 global parameters very clearly integrated into our classrooms and lesson plans. The provision of equal opportunities of participation is given to all students in their individual areas of interest.
Keeping the GIIS vision at the core we have the Global Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship where students learn the skills required to make them global citizens. This includes activities such as coding, robotics, developing problem-solving skills, and many more.
A culinary lab enhances communication skills, cooking and baking, starting a conversation, Restaurant etiquettes, organisation skills, too. A student exchange program encourages students to understand the world through inter-campus debates, topic discussions, competitions, and many more such knowledge exchange opportunities led by the facilitators.
7S data analytics helps map individual students’ progress and enhance strengths and address the weaknesses. It also helps in the planning of focused CPD’s for the teaching faculty. Identify the strengths and therefore help share resources internally.
What sort of technologies do you use in your school?
We are a technology-rich school and all children from a very early stage in life are allowed to be in harmony with technology thus making them comfortable using new technologies on their own. All our classrooms are technology-enabled and the campus has multiple internet networks to allow seamless access to the internet.
All children have access to multiple electronic devices in the campus and the classrooms. Technology-assisted learning spaces have been developed to ensure that we leverage the technology in the best possible manner to enhance learning outcomes for each child.
How do you improve the creativity of students and help them follow their passion?
The ASA activities allow students to follow their passion/hobbies. During regular lessons, the students are always encouraged to put forward their perspectives. Students analyse mistakes and learn from them and not be discouraged by failure. Learning communities among students allows them to collaborate effectively. GCIE lab, Qutuhal programme, RISE, etc. promote innovation.
How did GIIS cope up with the pandemic?
GIIS is headquartered in Singapore and therefore the legacy of technology was very strong. We had the technical know-how of distance learning as student exchange programs were a practice followed by the foundation across the campuses in the pre-COVID era, too.
Our in-house experts trained the staff all across the campuses for the zoom platform for teaching. Ekalavya is an assessment platform which is existing therefore we could transfer to digital assessments. Netiquettes were shared with the students and parents and constant hand-holding made all stakeholders aware of the new-age learning.
Security is a big concern with online learning initiatives. How is GIIS equipped to handle cybersecurity challenges?
We have in place a School Online Safety Policy, based on international best practices. All students are made aware of Cyber Safety, Bullying, etc. regularly through Assemblies, Talks by our own teachers and external experts. The Student Council plays a key role in taking awareness about online safety and preventing Cyber Bullying. The safety of our students is the prime priority at GIIS and we are glad that they are partners in our endeavour.