From just 50 students in 2008 to 500 today, the little International school that embraces Emirati culture and heritage goes from strength to strength
Dubai, June 10th, 2013: Dubai's only fully bilingual school has been awarded the coveted International Baccalaureate (IB) accreditation.
Dar Al Marefa, an international Emirati school that launched with just 50 children in 2008, has been given the official seal of approval by the IB board.
Now with a population of 500 students – mostly UAE nationals - Dar Al Marefa has responded to a growing demand for bilingual IB education in the country.
The IB authorization cements the school's position as an international-standard education provider that remains true to Emirati values. The school teaches both English and Arabic at first language level while keeping Islamic values and UAE cultural identity at the top of its educational priorities.
School Principal Shirine Al Khudari said: “Achieving IB authorisation is a milestone for our growing school. The International Baccalaureate offers a unique program of study as it creates independent thinkers who are respectful of their own cultures yet open to the diverse world we live in. IB education meets Dar Al Marefa's mission and vision in that it supports the provision of a global education which creates citizens of the world while purposefully fostering strong moral education at its instructive core.”
“Parents recognise the need to prepare their children for the world by teaching international-mindedness, but we ensure this is balanced with the traditional values of our Arab world.”
“The IB philosophy is also reflected in the fact that we are the only school in Dubai that is totally bilingual – with all students being taught all the main subjects in both English and Arabic. Like the IB, we promote support for the mother tongue and cultural identity alongside the need for understanding the rest of the world.”
Dar Al Marefa, which is in the Mirdiff area and owned by the Dubai-based Al Ghurair family, has grown steadily since its launch and has plans to continue to slowly expand over coming years. It was awarded IB authorization for its Primary Years Programme (PYP) after three years only of adapting it; IB authorization takes up to 5 years to achieve in the PYP and MYP phases and schools can choose to offer the PYP (3-11 years), Middle Years Programme (11-16) or the Diploma Programme (16-19), or can apply for all three to become an IB world school.
Naira Hamdy, Head of the Primary Years Program and the Primary Section at Dar Al Marefa also commented, “Through the shared vision of the IB program and the strong focus on local and cultural identity, Dar Al Marefa works on building local capacity to create leaders from within the UAE community to further the vision of the country's leaders.”