“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”
- Albert Einstein
What would you think about the quote mentioned above? It probably defines the whole purpose of education. When life starts, it is the education that equips the youngster with the tools and means to fight world battles. Despite being divided by boundaries, the world is shrinking smaller to become a global village.
To prepare the future generation of this global village in this highly technological world where holistic development and the primary purpose of education is maintained, grooming the younger generation in that atmosphere is extremely important.
In bringing the world together on the same page, the education sector has been working tirelessly for ages. With a similar vision to provide the students with an updated and revised syllabus while keeping the picture of holistic development in mind, GEMS World Academy was established, aiming to train and groom students to prepare them for the future.
The GEMS World Academy is led by the school’s Principal and CEO, Dr Saima Rana. She brought extensive international teaching experience to the school and has taken the school to new heights.
The Inception of a Holistic IB School
Established in the year 2008 as a full IB School, the school picked up a quick pace and today, the school has 1500 students from Nursery to Grade 12, representing 87 different nationalities. With world-class facilities provided by the school, a few of its highlights include a full Olympic-sized Swimming pool, Planetarium, Sports field and Athletics Track, an Entrepreneurship Hub, 600-seater state-of-the-art auditorium, and Dance and Drama Studios. Including these facilities with outstanding core education facilities (purpose-designed music rooms, classrooms, food technology and science labs) allows the school to deliver and maintain an exceptional international education standard.
Visionary Mission of Holistic Education
GEMS World Academy is an inclusive school with an international curriculum aiming toward the holistic development of the child—the mind, the heart, the spirit, and the body—to expand their horizons, nurture their ambitions and shape their values so they become powerful, caring and intelligent global citizens.
Mission: Education for a Better World
Capturing the sense of optimism and determination to succeed that permeates throughout the Academy, the school is on a mission to educate students for a better world. The school aims to develop resilient students with the ability to be tenacious in their quest to be the best in all aspects of their lives.
Emphasising on the mission of the school, Dr Saima Rana says, “We treat every student as an individual. We know them all well. We respect them all. We draw out their individual talents and rejoice in their personal achievements and their individual contribution.“
“Our values are based on our GENIUS principles. We want our children to be Grounded, Entrepreneurial, Nurturing, Innovative, Unique, and Sophisticated. Our ethos is student-centred and personalised learning for every student, in a respectful environment so that all our students are safe, secure and successful,” Dr Saima Rana added.
Support, Challenge, Extend and Excel
The academic objectives for every child at the GEMS World Academy is to be supported, challenged and extended so that they meet their full potential and excel in all subject areas. A huge breadth complements the high expectations in all subject areas in terms of both courses offered and extracurricular options available to students in the Academy.
Talking about the academic objectives, the principal of the school says, “We don’t believe that learning begins and ends with expanding and disciplined minds. We educate hearts so that our students learn emotional intelligence, about friendship, love and ethical concerns through reading great literature and involvement in a rich arts curriculum, we educate the spirit so that they learn to appreciate the wonder and awe of the world and their lives, and we teach them how to nurture their bodies through teaching them about how to maintain healthy bodies and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Our priority throughout is to produce a holistic education that encompasses all aspects of a student’s wellbeing, intellectually, spiritually and physically.“
A Tried and Tested System to Maintain Quality Education
The educational provision at GWA is overseen by a team of highly qualified and experienced IB teachers and supported by a strong middle and senior management team. Professional development is a weekly occurrence at the school and ensures that teachers are engaging with research and resources related to current best practices in the field of education.
Dr Saima Rana says, explaining how the quality education standards are maintained at the school, “We are rigorous in our recruitment and retention paractices. We insist that only the very best professionals are brought into the school. We are tenacious in our monitoring and accountability systems that ensure that every member of staff, both teaching and non-teaching, understands the values and aims of the school and are ruthless in their pursuit of excellence for all.“
“We have a continuous cycle of internal and external learning reviews with a focus on student safety, progression and success,” Dr Saima Rana added.
An Energetic Leader’s Influence
Dr Saima Rana is the Principal/CEO of GEMS World Academy. Leading the school through an enormous refurbishment in the past 18 months, she has set the school on a firm pathway to becoming one of the world’s most recognised and reputable International Baccalaureate schools. She is driven by a belief that every student in the school can succeed and insists on the highest professional standards in all work undertaken in the school. She is an internationally acclaimed educational expert of the highest ethical standards and has an enormously ambitious vision for her students and staff; she shows tireless energy in pursuit of the school’s goals. Moreover, Dr Saima Rana also has vast experience in the field, a great love of schools and education generally and is recognised as a leader in her field.
Aiming for Excellence through a Rich and Integrated Curriculum
GEMS World Academy is concerned with enhancing, developing, and extending all aspects of its students’ development arc. To do this, the school has curated rich and integrated extracurricular and co-curricular experiences and activities for the students. Serving the school’s vision through this, the school also ensures that every child is involved in all the activities.
Shedding light on the curriculum developed by the school, the principal of the school says, “At GEMS World Academy, the Enrichment Opportunities Programme has gone from strength to strength with over 150 options available to our students. Teachers and coaches run clubs and activities in the morning before school starts, at morning break and lunchtimes, and after school. Our clubs and activities include academic-based clubs (related to literacy, maths, science, expressive arts, STEM, etc.), sports-related clubs (athletics, swimming, football, netball, tennis etc.), and clubs for hobbies and recreational interests (Lego club, coding club, cooking club etc.).“
Preparing the Younger Generation for Holistic Future
The GEMS World Academy management tirelessly works to explore opportunities and avenues for the future destinations of all its students in the widest possible settings. Explaining the entire process of preparing students for the future, Dr Saima Rana says, “Recognising the future of employment is not something that can be easily predicted, and so partnerships with universities and world-leading business and enterprises have been something crucial to ensuring that we prepare students to be well prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the future. Our very broad and balanced curriculum offer, plus our rich and extra enhanced curriculum, ensures that we are able to provide a personalised and bespoke educational offer for each student and therefore remain agile enough to cater for all the dreams and hopes of our wonderful students.“
Students of all ages and stages are encouraged to look to the future in entrepreneurship, innovation, and social impact lessons. Entrepreneurship is given special importance at GEMS World Academy and is something that the school ensure all children develop entrepreneurial skills. Ms Helen Al Uzaizi, the school director, oversees the integration of entrepreneurship into the curriculum and additional extracurricular opportunities available to our children. So, whether it is Grade 4 students learning about economics, supply and demand in one of their entrepreneurship units, or Grade 10 students trying to secure funding for a product or business venture in a ‘Sharks Tank’ competition, the children can explore the opportunity to think beyond the traditional boundaries of school life and explore something that they may wish to pursue in their future.
Asserting on the higher education opportunities for the students, Dr Saima Rana says, “We also have a team of college and careers counsellors at GEMS World Academy who works closely with students in Grades 9-12 to identify their interests and passions as they look to life after GWA and possible destinations and options at universities around the world. By supporting these students when they are young, they are in a fantastic position to be able to make much more informed decisions about their own futures and the directions they wish to take lives. College and University open days, work experience placements, peer and professional mentoring, and one to one counselling sessions help to facilitate this process and give students every opportunity to succeed in life.”
The Next Chapter of GEMS World Academy
Envisioning the school’s future, the principal shares, “As a school, we believe in innovation and looking to the future. At a time when increasingly change to social, political and economic orders has become a norm, we know that we need to be educating students to be capable of facing these changes without fear and with a sense of ambition, courage, imagination and tenaciousness based on broad and balanced understandings, a global perspective, deep values of care and honesty, a can-do, will-do attitude and a sense of hope coupled to a brave heart.“
“This is what a great education for the future needs, and this is what we are purposefully building here at GEMS World Academy. We pride ourselves on keeping abreast of innovation and creativity as well as locking down the very best of humane values that will ensure every student coming here becomes a forward-looking, decent and valuable citizen in the global community,” Dr Saima Rana adds.