How do you see your contribution to the private education sector of Dubai?
NITIN KRIPALANI From the onset, EKI was established with the vision of developing and operating world-class schools. Currently, we have three schools and four nurseries; the flagship being Repton School Dubai, which was set up 11 years ago. At the time of Repton Dubai's launch, the education landscape in Dubai was different. There were hardly any international school brands in the Emirate, until we partnered with Repton School in the UK, a 460-year-old institution, to set up a partner school in Dubai. Today, Repton School Dubai has the second-best IB results in the country, and these results have been improving on a progressive basis. These results are significantly above the global average for IB results, with some of our alumni securing places at Oxford and Cambridge in the UK and Ivy League universities in the US. Our positive contribution to UAE's education sector is further evidenced by the large representation of Emirati pupils in our schools. The average representation of Emirati pupils at competing schools in Dubai is between 2 and 4%, whereas in Repton School Dubai over 18% of our pupils are Emiratis. This is facilitated by the strong offering of Arabic and Islamic studies in our schools as well as the provision of the IB Career Program, alongside the IB Diploma Program in years 12 and 13.
JANECKE AARNAES Dwight School is an old educational institution with a solid history and presence around the world. We have schools in New York, London, Seoul, Shanghai, and now Dubai. What is unique about Dwight School is that it comes from a family of educators. It is run by the owners, who are educators and actively work in New York. When they look to partner abroad, they look for someone that shares a similar vision and is willing to consider education as an area where we need to be future oriented and progressive. The way Dwight School approaches expansion is with a long-term vision and with sustainability in mind, as partnerships take a long time to develop. We look for countries where the leadership is supportive of our vision, thinking about how education provides the country with entrepreneurial and thought leaders for the future. Dwight School will only go to places where the vision for education matches ours, which is where Dubai came in as a perfect partner. Both Dwight and Dubai's leadership want to teach young people today to think in a way that is different from what has been standard over the past few decades, because this generation will face different challenges. What makes Dwight comfortable is going beyond what is the classical norm; just like Dubai, we want to push the boundaries.
What features set your school apart from the competition?
NK First, our partnership with the renowned institution Repton School and its legacy in nurturing leaders is extremely important. We have successfully synthesized this legacy of teaching and learning with an understanding of local markets over the last decade. Second, our philosophy of holistic education and development of the whole child is central to our education offering. While our pupils enjoy very strong academic results, we believe that our provision of sports, arts, drama, and pastoral care is second to none. Third is our use of technology and innovation to accelerate education outcomes. Repton School Abu Dhabi is the first school in the Middle East to be recognized as an Apple Distinguished School. Apple recognized our leadership in the use of technology and innovation to enhance personalized learning for every child.
JA In 1872, Dwight was set up as a small educational institution for boys seeking higher education. It was set up in partnership with Yale University to prepare students for university, and thus, we were established as a feeder school for talent into Yale. Today, education has become available to significantly more people, and the vision of the school has changed. There are parallels with the UAE, considering there is a similar structural system here; it is a truly hands-on ownership by a visionary leader. The chancellor of Dwight School is a progressive educator who continuously challenges the school to think about how to make a giant leap into the future, in the same way the leader here challenges his people. What allows our students to take that leap is the focus on student entrepreneurship, which together with our personalized learning approach makes us unique. Dwight has found distinctive ways and structures to allow students to develop their own interests and passions, while they acquire knowledge and skills they need to sit and test. These are really hallmark features of a Dwight education.