Founded in 1982 originally, and having moved to its current Muweilah location in 2007, GEMS Our Own English High School (Boys Branch) is a well-established school. In April 2019, it will move for the second time to open for the new academic year on the site of the newer, and now defunct, GEMS New Our Own Private High School, whose students will be amalgamated with OOB.
The story so far...
Currently located in the school district of Muwaileh, close to the Sharjah University City, GEMS Our Own English High School - Boys Branch (OOB) is located on a relatively modern campus set on seven acres land. In April 2019, the school will relocate, for the second time in its history, to the newer, state-of-the-art campus in Al Juwaizah of the somewhat ill-fated GEMS New Our Own Private High School, Sharjah, which was set up as a premium school to cater to the Indian expat population, and was open barely a year.
According to GEMS, following the move, the faculty of the combined school will be made up of teachers from both Our Own English High School Sharjah, Boys (including 250 staff from OOB) and those of GEMS New Our Own Private High School, Sharjah (GEP). The current student body of OOB is around 3,500 students, predominantly Indian. The New Our Own Private High School opened only from KG to Grade 5 in its first year, and the number of students expected to be affected is said to be approximately 500.
One of the definite positives of the merger is that OOB, which did not have provision for KG students (who are based at the Our Own English High School for Girls), will offer a mixed-gender KG1 and KG2. In fact girls will be accepted to Grade 4 before the school reverts to Boys only. The merger is also expected to allow for the expansion of the choice of elective subjects and extra-curricular activities. GEP also had a particular focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) and provides facilities to support this.
Mr. Srivalsan Murugan, the Principal of OOB, will take charge of the newly merged school. His motto for the school and its students is Semper Ad Meliora – Always Towards Better things.
The Vision for OOB - which we expect to be adopted at the new site - states that
We visualize young generations emerging from the school as good role models, better human beings and the best among scholars.
The school's Mission, to realise this vision, focuses on
Curricular Competence - Excellence in education through child-centered interactive learning with special emphasis on life skills.
Competitive Spirit - A spirit of healthy competition and team work, through nurturing of hidden potentials.
Core Values - Global Citizenship, Growing by Learning, Pursuing Excellence and Leading through Innovation – the four core values of GEMS are an integral part of our curriculum.
Cutting Edge - Creating dynamic thinkers ready to take up challenges in the world of tomorrow.
For, we believe that every child has promise.
What about the curriculum?
Our Own English High School, Boys’ Branch, Sharjah offers a curriculum designed and developed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, New Delhi and prepares students for the All India Secondary School Examination (at the end of Grade 10) and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination (at the end of Grade 12) conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi, India.
The curriculum is designed to ensure an all round development of every student. In addition to being comprehensive, it is designed to be practical, providing the opportunity for experimentation and experience in order to develop personality and achieve academic success. The medium of instruction is English and special emphasis is placed on the teaching of both written and spoken English at all levels.
The curriculum in KG focuses on specific learning developments and needs. It promotes comprehensive and balanced development in children through the five developmental objectives of cognitive and language development, numerical understanding, moral development, physical development and affective and social development. The curriculum aims and content, pedagogy and assessment focus on the goal of enhancing children’s learning - their knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes. Learning activities are designed to provided sensory stimulation, appropriate content and pedagogy to facilitate children’s understanding.
At the primary level, the focus is on a development-based curriculum and students learn the essential concepts of each subject. Individual study is balanced with group activities, so that students learn to work together as a team. The emphasis is on the development of positive attitudes and healthy habits among students. Core subjects are English, Mathematics, Science/Environmental Systems, Social Studies, Computer Science, Islamic Studies/Moral Education and Arabic. From Grade 3, students select a second language from French, Malayalam or Urdu.
In addition to these academic subjects, co-curricular activities include Physical Education, Art and Crafts and Music, and Club activities.
During Middle School (Grades 5-8) students' intellectual, aesthetic, physical and cultural growth is developed more intensively following the subject range from the Primary level. In Secondary School (Grades 9-10) students are prepared for the All India Secondary School Examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi, India. There is a strong focus on remedial and enrichment classes which the school describes as "an essential strategy" as students are prepared for the Standard X examinations.
Finally, in Senior Secondary School students may choose between the Science and Commerce Streams.
The Science stream, at its core, includes English, Physics, Chemistry and Arabic across four variations which include (1) Mathematics and Computer Science , (2) Mathematics and Biology, (3) Biology and Informatics, and (4) Mathematics and Economics.
The Commerce Stream offers three options including English, Arabic,Accountancy, Economics and Business Studies, together with either (1) Mathematics (2) Entrepreneurship, or (3) Informatics Practices. Unfortunately, in common with many Indian curriculum schools, scope for creative or Arts subjects is not provided other than as part of Extra-curricular activities.
To be fair, this is an extensive list including Creative Club, Dance Club, Debate Club, Drama and Literary Club, Eco Club, Inquizitive Club, Innovative Club, Photography Club, Rhapsody Club, Public Speaking, Art and Craft, and Elocution.
The school is particularly proud of its "Look Who’s Answering" Quiz which was initiated in 2000, and is one of the unique features of the school, set up as a competition which initially involves all students, before being narrowed down to forty finalists. This is designed to instill general knowledge among the student community in terms of science, literature, technology and current affairs, outside the realm of the formal syllabus. The programme also involves the Teachers’ and Parents’ Quiz, aimed at strengthening the parent-student-teacher partnership.
The Eco Club creates awareness about environmental issues and creates an interest in studying and researching areas relating to the environment. Some of the activities of the Eco Club include the celebration of ‘The Earth Day’, Can and Paper Recycling Campaigns, Eco Poster Painting Competitions, Eco Quiz and Clean Up Campaigns.
The school conducts regular events on an inter-school and inter-house level. Competitions include elocution, debating, recitation, dramatics, quiz, essay writing, yoga and music. Students are encouraged to explore their creative talents and find ways of creative expression through a variety of mediums that include clay, fabrics, paper and paints. Music and the performing arts, including public speaking, also aim to play an integral role in helping students explore new and creative ways of expression. Sports fans may take advantage of a variety of coaching including Football, Basketball, Cricket, Table Tennis, Volley Ball, Track and Field.
What about the Facilities?
The new purpose-built campus, to which OOB students will relocate in April, was specifically designed for primary, secondary and senior secondary students and has larger classrooms, superior games facilities and outdoor play areas compared with the current campus, as well as a high-quality multi-purpose hall, canteen, dining space, library, laboratories, prayer rooms, and conference facilities. The new purpose-built campus has more than 3,000 sqm of additional space to improve the learning experience of all students. Additional facilities include ICT labs, Science labs, Art and Music rooms. Sports facilities include Indoor sports facilities, Badminton and basketball provision, Tennis courts, Soccer field and an Athletics track.
The library features an integrated audio-visual suite with internet facility to complement the research activities, whilst the labs (for general science, math, physics, chemistry, and biology) have been designed to meet the requirements of Secondary and Senior Secondary students in line with the latest CBSE norms. ICT laboratories are used to support the teaching of ICT, beginning as early as Grade 1, and are equipped with smart boards and LCD projectors. Each section (Primary, Middle, Secondary and Senior Secondary ) has its own set of Mobile LCD Projectors. Teachers make extensive use of these mobile LCD projectors as teachings aids in the classrooms. The school does not mention how the STEAM labs will be utilised going forward.
In addition to a Performing Arts Centre, the school also offers a specialised creative Art Room with a smart board and internet access where students are encouraged to explore the artistic world and showcase their creative talents. A music room equipped with guitars, keyboards, drum sets, harmoniums and tabla is available for students inclined to both western and eastern music.
What about Academic achievement?
Unfortunately, GEMS Indian curriculum schools generally publish very little information about students' academic performance, other than to publish a list of Toppers in the core streams. This tells parents only how the most academic students have performed, but provides very little means for parents to understand performance across the broad range of students. GEMS is generally much more forthcoming about UK and IB curriculum schools and we at WhichSchoolAdvisor.com feel that this is an area of communication that could be considerably improved upon.
Having said this, OOB is actually one of the few GEMS Indian curriculum schools to provide some information about how students perform in terms of University acceptances. These can be found here..
There is no question that with its history and popularity - not to mention affordable fees - GEMS Our Own English High School for Boys - in its central location, was always going to be a popular choice for parents. With the out of town move, it will be interesting to see if this impacts the roll. In reality, however, given the historical demand, the retention of the current leadership and the improved facilities, we would expect that most parents will feel that the additional journey time is worth the sacrifice. And for parents whose children joined the New Private High School (GEP), they can look forward to a considerable reduction in fees...
What about fees?
Fees at the GEMS Our Own New Private High School were definitely on the high side - ranging between AED 14,000 to AED 18,000 per year from KG1 to Grade 6 - and these included a 30% discount on the approved Ministry of Education fees. Fees for OOB at the new site will be AED 9,075 from KG to Grade 5 (so half the fees of GEP at Grade 5), AED 10,890 for Grades 6 to 9 and AED 14,278 for Grades 10 to 12. Fees may be paid in 10 monthly installments.
If you are the owner or the principal of the school and note any inaccuracies, or would like to update data, you can now open an account with us. You will also be able to add admissions availability per year group, and advertise current job vacancies. This is a free service. Please help us keep prospective parents up to date with your latest information.
Are you looking for a place for your child, and want help from our school consultants? If so, click on the link below, and we will forward your request for information to the school or schools of the same type that we are confident have availability. This is a free service for our readers. Request Information