Pearl Wisdom School Dubai is a new CBSE school located in the centre of Deira, managed by Bhavans Middle East.
The story so far...
Whilst many new schools will surely be considering whether now is the time to continue with their plans given the impact of Covid-19, Pearl Wisdom School (PWS) has gone ahead with its opening in the heart of Dubai, in the Hor Al Anz, Abu Hail area of the city.
Almost certainly it has been able to go ahead with its opening - and been successful in recruiting staff and students whose entire relationship has been based on distance learning - because of the Bhavans name that stands behind the management of the school.
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, a well-known institution providing education in India, was founded in 1938 by Dr. K. M. Munshi, described by the group as "a far-sighted visionary and practical idealist", who was also one of the chief members of India’s constituent assembly. The group represents Indian culture and reflects the ethos of Indian traditions. Today, the Bhavan operates over 400 schools in India and 10 international centres including the UK, USA, Singapore, Australia and South Africa. In the Middle East, it operates schools in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE.
Somewhat confusingly, none of the schools in the UAE carry the Bhavans name, with the Abu Dhabi school being Private International English School, whilst the Al Ain school is known as Al Saad Indian School and the Ajman school is called Wise Indian Academy. A Bhavans school that was mooted to open in Sharjah several years ago has not yet seen its doors open, but with the new school in Dubai, it is highly likely that a strong contingent of Sharjah families will make up the eventual 2,400 students who will be able to attend the school by the time it is fully open. In its first academic year - from April 2020 - the school is offering places from KG1 to Grade 5.
Pearl Wisdom School's Vision is "to shape young minds to become valuable members and future leaders of the global community." The school's Mission is "to provide a conducive environment for a future-oriented learning community, anchored in a rigorous, high quality academic programme, for students. We seek to empower all students to apply their acquired skills and knowledge, and to rely upon their personal attributes to lead productive lives and thereby to become contributing members of the global community".
The school is yet to host students at its new campus, as teachers continue to provide lessons through the school’s distance learning platform. With students in different parts of the world and academic staff connecting virtually, the school has had a unique opening experience.
Sooraj Ramachandran, Vice Chairman of Bhavans said, “The opening of our new school in Dubai comes with lot of hope and expectation as we aspire to provide a school with great teachers, wonderful learning environment and great facilities - all at an affordable price point. When we opened our school, it was an entirely new experience where both the teachers and students had to connect virtually. This was a big challenge as none of our teachers have met each other yet. The parent community at our school has been extremely supportive and we have been transparent at all times.”
The school has hosted virtual parent-teacher orientation sessions, student council activities, virtual assemblies and online lessons for its founding group of students. We are one of the very few schools in the world that has opened during a global pandemic. This is a challenge that we’ve turned into an opportunity,” said Sooraj.
The teaching staff at PWS are a mix of teachers who have previously worked in other branches of the group both in India and the Middle East, together with teachers who are said to support the educational philosophy of the school.
What about the curriculum?
PWS is an English medium, day boarding school and the school is affiliated to the CBSE, New Delhi.
In addition to the formal curriculum, PWS will also place specific emphasis on extra-curricular and co-curricular activities. with an estimated 10-12% of learning time set aside for these activities. There will also be a strong focus on creative and performing arts, with Art compulsory for all students from Grade 1 to 12, and Performing Arts and Music obligatory from Grade 1 to 5. From Grade 6, students may choose between Performing Arts and Music as an elective.
All children will also be expected to take part in a healthy lifestyle in school, with physical exercise a priority. Students in KG will have both indoor and outdoor playtime, whilst Primary students will undertake 80 minutes of PE per week. Students up to Grade 2 will have an additional 40 minutes per week aimed at developing their gross motor skills.
What about the facilities?
The school is housed in a modern four storey building with extensive outdoor space and car-parking - though many students can be expected to travel to and from school by bus.
In addition to modern classrooms, facilities include science laboratories including a STEM lab, two large media rooms equipped with computers, printers and wifi, libraries for KG, Primary and Secondary students, an Art room, and Performing Arts rooms for both Music, and Speech and Drama.
There is extensive outdoor play space both shaded and open, together with sports facilities that include a swimming pool.
Having been open barely one month as we write this review, there is no formal feedback about the school.
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What about the fees?
KHDA approved fees at Pearl Wisdom School start at AED 14,500 for KG, AED 15,500 for Grades 1 to 3, and AED 16,500 for Grades 4 and 5. However, the school is offering a discount of 15% for the first 300 students to join the school in the current academic year, reducing fees to AED 12,350, AED 13,200 and AED 14,050 respectively.
There will also be sibling discounts - 5% for the second child and 10% for the third and beyond; however, these will not be applied to the discounted fees mentioned above.
Additional costs include a one-time registration fee of AED 500, and assessment fee of AED 500 for children from Grade 1 onwards. The school will also provide uniforms (at AED 130 for KG children and AED 140 for the other grades), and is awaiting approval from the KHDA to apply Book Fees of AED 700 (for KG) and AED 800 for other grades. Bus fees range between AED 4,000 and AED 5,000 per year dependent on location.
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