International Indian School, Ajman offers education up to Grade 12. Founded in 2002, the school describes itself as one of the fastest growing schools in the emirate after moving to a "state-of- the-art" building in 2011. It educates approximately 5,200 students with a teaching team of around 230.
International Indian School Ajman is an affordable school affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (India) and the Ministry of Education in the UAE. It was set up by the Habitat Schools group, owned by Sheikh Sulthan Bin Saqer Al Nuaimi.
In 2016, the Habitat Group of Schools won the International Business Reliability Award instituted by Reporter TV Channel, for its performance in Innovation Education. Habitat received the award for being the first to introduce a fully-fledged farming programme in the Gulf region in its schools and also for an innovative technology friendly initiative called the Cyber Square.
The school’s website introduces itself thus
“Education is often misunderstood as a means to an end even while stressing on qualification and success, without caring for the life, students have in schools. As living cannot be postponed, the experience of schooling has to be understood as an end in itself where the child, parent, teacher and management come together for mutual growth. Schools have the responsibility to provide such a platform and a scheme for mutual interaction of its community. It is such an integration of space, learning and technology that characterises, The Indian International School in Ajman”.
Somewhat confusingly, the school makes much of its forward-looking curriculum and ambition for its students, whilst apparently promoting teaching practices that many educators would find seriously dated. Indeed, the school is very open in its views on changes in education in recent years, noting that
“There have been a lot of changes in the nature of teaching practices in recent years- people have been talking against rote learning, teachers are now projected to be facilitators and many have voiced their concerns about the inabilities of the current educational system. But the reform efforts have not been realistic in any way. Though the theory for the reforms has been quite solid, teaching and evaluation remain wide apart. The traditional virtues of education get lost and the new methodologies come up as hugely flawed. In such a situation, it is very important to have a system in which the learning objectives are clearly identified and activities are clearly designed for an organic experience of learning”.
That said, International Indian School apparently “strives to provide a new model of education for the expatriate children in the UAE in a culturally inclusive, technologically effective and ecologically sensitive way in a cosmopolitan environment”. The school recognises the need to live with nature and create a concern for the surroundings as a fundamental value for its students, and operates an organic farm where students cultivate medicinal trees and plants both outdoors and in a specially designed greenhouse.
It also aims to incorporate 21st Century skills in its curriculum with a strong focus on programming and coding, “welcoming innovation in learning, whether it is through natural or digital environments”. Sharing and caring for humanity and a care for the wider living world is a core concern at the school.
Facilities include a science laboratory, computer laboratory, activity rooms, medical clinic with a full time nurse as well as a qualified pediatrician, canteen, school store and library with up to date, modern materials. Additional outdoor facilities such as a synthetic track and play areas are included and the school aims to develop literary, sporting and artistic skills such as Karate, music, dance, swimming, football and badminton as part of the day boarding programme where students are able to spend an extended day.
IIS Ajman has four sections: The KG section, the primary section (grade 1-4), the boys section (grade 5-12 boys) and girls section (grade 5-12 girls), each one administrated by a section supervisor. Grades 11 and 12 began in 2012.
The school curriculum is broadly similar from Primary through to Grade 8 with core subjects of English, Maths, Environmental Science, a second language, and computer [sic] including the Cyber Square programme, where students learn basic programming skills. The three Ministry mandated subject of Arabic, UAE Social Studies and Islamic for Muslim students and Moral Science for Non-Muslim students are also introduced by Grade 1. Additional subjects include General Knowledge, Farming, Art, Games and Physical Education. Second Languages offered from Grades 1-10 are Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, French, Tamil, Bangla, and Special Arabic [in grade 9-10].
In Middle school (Grades 6-8) the curriculum becomes more formal and differentiated with subjects taking on a greater level of specialisation, so that Science is taught as Biology, Physics and Chemistry and Social Science (taught instead of Environmental Systems) with a focus on Geography, History and Political life.
From Grade 9 and 10, the school follows the curriculum scheme as prescribed by the CBSE, adding Social Studies to Social Sciences. Students no longer participate in Farming.
In the final two grades, students follow either Science or Commerce, each of which cover 5 subjects.
Unfortunately, IIS does not publish its exam results, so it is not possible to judge how well students perform against their peers, both in the UAE and globally. However, the school’s longevity and strength in student numbers, not to mention its highly affordable fees, suggest that it will remain a popular choice for Indian families.
It would be a major plus for prospective parents, though, to be given more detailed and basic information about class sizes, provision for students with additional needs, those all-important exam results and university destinations.
Fees range from AED 3,600 in KG to AED 6,000 in grade 12.
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