GEMS World Academy: Developing Life-long Learners with Advanced IB Programmes

The dynamics of the world are changing at a rapid pace, and to keep-up with it, we need innovative thinkers. We need minds who are capable of thinking clearly in drastic times. To develop such scholars, institutions around the world employ various strategies, which place the development of their pupils at the very core. These institutions, with their commitment to the development of students curate curriculum that prepare them to face real-world challenges. Not only that, these schools also instill in their students values that guide them in their journey of life, even in their hardships.

At The Knowledge Review, it is our privilege to introduce you to GEMS World Academy (GWA), Dubai an institution that embodies all the above attributes to its core. GWA is renowned for its IB programs, providing students a home away from home.

Let’s look at the journey of this distinct school that has been successfully creating tomorrow’s citizens with its remarkable programmes:

The Ideology

GWA was founded in 2007 as the first GEMS full International Baccalaureate (IB) School. It is fully accredited by the IB, the Council of International Schools (CIS), and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The school sees its mission as “GWA = IB+”, meaning all the programmes and new initiatives are viewed through the filter of the IB philosophy, mission and framework. These programmes are intended for the development of the students’ physiology and psychology. GWA is a Premium Plus school with state-of-the-art facilities ensuring its students are equipped with the necessary resources. The school provides its students with a range of options that allow them to pursue their passions to the highest level internationally.

Distinct Courses

Since its conception, GWA has been continuously developing its programs to meet the needs of the next generations. The school offers the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP), the Diploma Programme (DP), and the Careers Related Programme (CP). It is one of the handful of schools in Dubai that offers all the IB programmes. Within the DP, the school offers over 50 courses providing students with a wide range of subject choices. With these multiple choices at their disposal, students have the opportunity to gain entry at their desired universities. The PYP, MYP, DP, and CP have implemented the inquiry-based approach. This approach allows the faculties to help their students discover their strengths and weaknesses. It also provides students with the opportunity to direct learning as well as embedding the attributes of the IB Learner Profile into every aspect of their future endeavors.

The Spearhead

To lead a school that creates a generation of passionate individuals requires personalities who are committed to their students. These individuals not only fulfill their responsibilities but also try to add values to their pupils in every way possible. Stuart Walker, Head/CEO of GWA is one such leader who, since becoming a member of the school, has been taking multiple initiatives to create a fostering environment.

Under Mr. Walker’s leadership, the school has moved from a GOOD KHDA rating to VERY GOOD. Now the school is aiming to move to OUTSTANDING in the next inspection cycle. His exemplary leadership has also helped to improve the curriculum resulting in elevation of the average score of the school’s graduating class which has moved from 30 (out of 45) to 34 in three years. He has also led the establishment of the GWA Language Institute (Mother Tongue languages) which is an accredited DELE (Spanish government) centre providing Spanish testing and the GWA Entrepreneurship Centre in the past two years, paving the path for leadership and multicultural society.

Avant-garde Methodology

GWA claims that IB is embedded in its curriculum and nurtures every moment of a student’s life. It has developed every programme on this foundation. The Learner Profile and the Attitudes to Learning (ATLs) are the core of GWA’s IB that truly exhibits this notion. This enables students to develop those skills making certain that they turn into highly competent adults. Additionally, there are programmes which provide opportunities for students to explore various aspects of their interests and skills.

The school also hosts external Swedish, Turkish, French, and Mandarin language schools ensuring that every aspiring student has options to pursue the courses as per their preference.

One of the notable programmes of GWA is the Week Without Walls Grades 6-11. In this programme, all the students for a week engage on trips locally and internationally. E.g., a student can see themselves in a panda refuge in China, working in a village in Cambodia, hiking in Africa, or working in a turtle hatchery in UAE. All the trips have at their core an element of community service.

GWA also has a strong sports and arts programme. There are 96 sporting teams at the school as well as a plethora of After School Activities in which students can explore their interests. The music programme is intense with outstanding facilities and opportunities. The Entrepreneurship Centre provides students with opportunities to enter competitions as well as to develop their own entrepreneurial ideas.

Creating Opportunities

Students at GWA enter into their dream university after completion of the DP. They are usually selected by some of the most prestigious universities across the world. The key to this success is the proper guidance of the counselors who help students select the right universities. They work closely with the students to determine their interests, career aspirations, and preferred locations. It helps the counselors to carefully craft the best-suited applications. GWA aims that 90% of all students should be accepted in their first or second choice university. The improvement in the academic outcomes at the school over the past two years has helped the school to achieve this goal.

GWA shows its students the infinite possibilities they have to pursue their aspirations. The focus on entrepreneurship is just an example in which students are engaged in the skills of entrepreneurship which are transferable skills. Seven of its students in Grade 11 have operational businesses.

Sketching the Future Ahead

GWA, in its journey to delivering excellent education, has setup multiple plans. It will continue to develop its “pillars” – the GWA Language Institute, GWA Entrepreneurship Centre, Revolutionizing Learning (Innovation) and Environmental Innovation. Currently, the Language institute provides students with 13 Mother tongue languages from Grade 1 to 6. It is planning to open more options for students in the coming years.

In 2019, the school opened GWA Nursery, accommodating pupils from 2 to 4 years old. The school’s distinguished Entrepreneurship Centre is in the process of signing MOUs. These MOUs will be signed with some of the most significant venture capitalists in the Middle East, providing its students with even more opportunity to explore their passions.

Mission Statement: We relentlessly strive to develop a fostering environment for our pupils where they develop into sensible and responsible citizens

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