The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federal state consisting of seven emirates, situated in an area facing the Persian Gulf (known as the Arabian Gulf in the Arabic-speaking world) in the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. It borders Oman to the east and Saudi Arabia to the south and west. With a wealth of oil and natural gas, its per capita income is one of the highest in the world. Japan is its biggest export destination.
The leading oil exploration enterprise in the UAE is Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). Japan Oil Development Co., Ltd. (JODCO), the UAE group company of INPEX Corporation plays the part of promoting the business from Japan. As one of the important missions of companies conducting business in the UAE, they are undertaking CSR activities both for the future of the region and to strengthen the relationship with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. In September 2018, after going through a pilot period, the three companies of ADNOC, JODCO, and Kumon, began an initiative to contribute to local education. In 2018-19, the Kumon Method of Learning was introduced to four elementary schools operated by ADNOC. This is the one-year report on that initiative.
The four schools are Sas Al Nakhl in the capital Abu Dhabi, and Ruwais, Madinat Zayed and Ghayathi schools in the western part of the country. This academic year, about 600 children at the four schools, from pre-school to second grade, studied Kumon Math.
|Training for teachers|
The new school year in the UAE begins in September, and the timetable for each day incorporates Kumon time.
Study time is about 30 minutes a day, with the teacher in charge of each class administering the Kumon instruction. The teachers received training beforehand, learning about the Kumon way of thinking, the learning process, marking techniques, and so on.
The first day of study. Because the Kumon method is individualized learning, the content of the worksheets is different for each student. Some students are practicing writing numbers, some are starting from adding up.
What is important at the beginning of learning Kumon is that every student is able to solve problems easily. The teacher grades worksheets on the spot, then if there are mistakes, they correct them and get perfect score. It is important for students to have a sense of accomplishment that they have done by themselves. The students in Abu Dhabi are also very excited, giving the teacher high fives after finishing their work. Even in schools, the idea of “self-learning” that progresses for each individual remains.
Even children who begin their learning from an easy stage approach the content of their school grade level. One of the features of the Kumon Method is for students to always have their worksheets given at the “just-right” level. Eventually, when students catch up with the content taught in school, the classes become easier to understand, and they come to enjoy arithmetic more. Then, by the end of the school year, some students will go beyond what they are learning at school. These students will be recognized at an annual awards ceremony held by JODCO and KUMON at the end of the school year. These days are for giving praise to the children, with parents also participating to feel for themselves the results of daily learning.
The 2018–19 school year is the first year of introduction, but it has already produced superb results. The teachers have said, “Not only have the students been happily working on Kumon study and acquiring arithmetic abilities, but they have developed the habit of self-learning and there has also been an improvement in their attitude.”
From the 2019-20 school year, the students who have been learning Kumon so far will continue to do so, and new students will start Kumon. We sincerely hope that using the Kumon method, the children will grow to have confidence in their academic abilities, enjoy learning with the self-learning skills they have acquired, and lead a fulfilling school life.