Indian High School Kickstarts Rahhal

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has kick started the flexible, "disruptive", education model/concept 'Rahhal' at the Indian High School.
Indian High School Kickstarts Rahhal
By Veathika
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The first Rahhal pilot programme has been launched at the Indian High School Dubai. An initiative by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), it could revolutionise education and learning in the country.

The Rahhal project is a "flexible and accessible education model providing knowledge, skills and experiences to the community at any age". 

Under the Rahhal system, according to the KHDA, even hobbies would be considered legitimate learning - as valid as traditional examinations.

Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, DG of the KHDA explains why the government is looking for disruption...

The event at Indian High School (HIS) saw signing of the agreement between KHDA, the school and the parents of the three students that have signed up for the pilot programme.

The pilot has signed up two students who excel in sports and one who is academically gifted and wants to focus on technology.

Tanisha Crasto, 14-years-old in Class 10 at IHS is the UAE and GCC No 1 Badminton player and trains for more than six hours a day. She is happy to be part of a programme where she can focus on her sport and yet get an education.

Tanisha and her father Clifford Crasto

We have a very busy schedule and its really difficult managing studies with six hours of training everyday. Our teachers and friends help out with notes and any questions I have. I usually attend classes in the evening after my training, but now with Rahhal, I’ll be able to focus more on Badminton without going to school.”

The requirement that students attend school formally, is removed when students sign up for Rahhal. This makes the UAE a real option for students that need to focus on their sport or passion, according to Clifford Castro, Tanisha's father.

“Until last week I was not sure if I would keep my daughter in the UAE. Here I didn’t have a platform where she could represent the UAE. However, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, signed a decree a few days ago saying that anyone who’s born in the UAE can represent the country.  Now with Rahhal we have the means of study allowing us to build study time around her sport.”

Tanish George with his mum Viji Susan

Another student who will be part of the pilot is Tanish George, a swimmer who has won 200 medals so far. The 14-year-old also trains for five to six hours a day.

Viji Susan, Tanish’s mum says Rahhal gives them flexibility and school's support in her child's education and career.

“It gives us a lot of flexibility as 90% attendance is compulsory in the school but with his schedule that’s not always possible. By signing the agreement, the school has promised us that when he comes back from a competition or special training, there will be separate classes for him. We as parents are happy about it as we don’t have to then search for another tutor to get him up to speed academically. He has little time: There’s morning and evening training for him with no rest. It’s a continuous journey, he has not had a single day off for the last 5 years."

The Indian High School was the first to enroll for Rahhal and the school has a committee to take up such cases. Dr Ashok Kumar, CEO of Indian High School said:

“There’s a sub committee in the school which will scrutinise each and every case that comes to us and decide whether it falls in the parameters where it's not breaking any law, or where people won’t misuse the programme. We’ll see that the child has admission into a particular academy and is able to do well. We do the initial scrutiny and, once we are satisfied, then we present it to the KHDA, they agree to it and then they will be registered in the Rahhal programme, where the attendance will come from the academy and the school when they are back. They will graduate from the school as well as an academy.”

The Indian High School has created a separate fund for Rahhal children, where trainers and/or academies are selected by parents but expenses are borne by the school. This is an understanding between the school and the parents.

Hind Al Mualla, Chief of Creativity, Happiness and Innovation at KHDA said: “Rahhal is all about students designing the school and their learning. This is the first pilot programme and we want to see the experiment through. We are collaborating with the parents and students to see the impact of Rahhal on students learning.”

According to the KHDA, a second school in Dubai will be starting the programme in September 2018.

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