May. 7, 2020


Dr. Kenneth Vedra

UAE, Abu Dhabi

Dr. Kenneth Vedra

Director General, Emirates National Schools (ENS)

A national school with a global approach, ENS offers both the American curriculum and the International Baccalaureate frameworks blended with Arabic, Islamic studies, and UAE social studies.

BIO

Kenneth Vedra is the Director General of ENS. He has more than 40 years' experience in the field of K-12 education, management, school operations, and higher education. He joined ENS in 2009 as school director and was appointed director general in 2010. Vedra served on the board of governors for the International Baccalaureate, completing his terms in 2014. While on the board, he served as IBO treasurer and chaired the finance committee for IBO. During his professional tenure as an educator, he served as teacher, coach, high school principal, deputy superintendent, and superintendent of schools. Vedra holds a doctorate from the University of Colorado in education in curriculum, administration, and supervision, with a specialty in school finance.


What defines ENS' approach to education?
ENS is owned by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, which is one of the branches of the government underneath the president. Our primary mission is to provide future leaders with the education, the skills, and the opportunities to lead not only in the country, but around the world. We are a national school with a global approach, using both the American curriculum and the International Baccalaureate frameworks to deliver our programs. Across our five campuses, we have five primary school programs, three middle years programs, and three diploma years programs. All of our students can earn an American diploma, while some can earn an International Baccalaureate diploma. Our students also receive instruction in the UAE national curriculum. Arabic, Islamic studies, and UAE social studies are required at ENS, blending international education with Emirati culture. Overall, this model is unique in the local education landscape.

What measurable results have you seen from ENS' education model?
ENS tracks its students' graduation from college and entry into their chosen post-secondary path. There is often a gap year in between and, when we track gap year students, we frequently notice that ENS students no longer rely on the extra year as much in order to be able to graduate from college. This tells us that we are doing better in elements such as writing, research, communication, and understanding what it takes to be successful in college. One of our graduation requirements is a cumulative project that spans essay work and volunteer work driven by the student's interests. We are increasingly seeing a great deal of creativity in those projects, leading to a higher degree of success than in the past.

How does ENS integrate technological tools into its learning environment?
ENS is heavily involved in STEM-based education using common core and next generation science standards, which is key for us. As we begin to look at the future and project what children need to learn, we must note our students are great with technology.

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