A Message from the Executive DeanTim Smith
We’ve now been back for a few weeks, and I’m sure those wonderful vacations are fast becoming a distant memory as we embark upon the crucial task of ensuring our students get the Foundations education they need to help them in their content programmes once they progress. It’s both pleasing and reassuring that more students than ever are choosing the HCT for their further education and more than 70% of these enter our Foundations programme – so we must be doing something right!
As you will have seen from the results that were sent out a few weeks ago, what you achieved for our students last year was simply incredible and a testament to your professionalism and dedication, both inside and outside the classroom. Although we told the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor we would aim for an 80% success rate, an analysis of previous years’ results pointed to a success rate of around 75% so it was especially pleasing – and a relief! – to be able to forward the results to our senior management. The Exceptional Progression initiative really helped motivate the more able students, and we are hopeful this will continue to be the case this year. What we will continue to tell our students is that, although they have exceptional teachers, they have to become more responsible for their own learning and work just as hard outside the classroom as they do in it.
Our women’s colleges are bursting at the seams as we have had more new students than we expected, and we have had a large number of Pre-Foundations students in Dubai and the Northern Emirates colleges. The conscription of many male high school graduates has meant lower enrolments at our men’s colleges and this has given us the opportunity to temporarily transfer some teachers from our male to female colleges and in one case, to another emirate. We are also taking those Priority 2 and 3 students that we can put into existing classes; we won’t be taking all of them.
One area that I want us to consider this year is how we can involve our students in a system-wide Foundations initiative; I know we have such initiatives in individual colleges and I’m sure these will continue, but it would help the students to feel part of a wider, nationwide entity. If you have any ideas, please let me or your Foundations chairs know.
As I have mentioned previously, being a Foundations teacher is the hardest job in the HCT as so much depends on what you help our students achieve; without your efforts, we’d have fewer students in the BAS programmes and ultimately fewer graduates making a positive contribution to their families, communities and country. I can only thank you sincerely for your efforts and promise to help you any way I can in terms of your professional development and also by ensuring we have the resources necessary to help you and our students succeed.
As always, feel free to contact me on any Foundations-related issue and I look forward to meeting you at your team meetings and assemblies over the coming weeks.