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United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi


Educational Partnership Programme | EPA 2010-2015

The EPA Programme is a partnership programme that creates a pedagogical fusion combining both the Abu Dhabi and Finnish experience, leading to the creation of world-class flagship schools in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain from 2010 to 2015.

EduCluster Finland Ltd. has formed an expert consortium to develop the education system model in flagship schools in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. EPA builds on a combination of the core pillars of the Finnish primary (cycle 1) curriculum considered specific to teaching and learning using the new curriculum in Abu Dhabi. The process requires designing and testing the introduction of a classroom teaching model within the new Abu Dhabi curriculum. It serves to develop show-case schools over 2010-2015, establishing new pedagogical knowledge and skills which enable Abu Dhabi teachers to develop teaching and learning practices through a class teacher model.

EPA also offers a professional development programme for Emirati educators operated by the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

In co-operation with Abu Dhabi Education Council, UAE


Client benefits: 
  • New Flagship model for Finnish-Emirati School model (through testing the best Finnish teaching practices) 
  • Professional development of Emirati teachers (upskilling the work force through peer teaching and mentoring )                 
  • Better performing schools (new curriculum, ICT, bi-literacy, materials)


The studies were implemented during three semesters. Semester syllabus (based on curriculum) was designed around three- to five-week periods, with unique structure in all periods. As part of the studies the students had the possibility to make two study visits to Finland with separate programmes. The cornerstones of University PD curriculum are the same as in Finnish teacher education: evidence-based teaching, child-centred learning and continuous reflective teacher development. These elements have been applied to the idea of life-long-on the job learning environments. The holistic view over theory and practice has linked the students’ everyday work and their PD-studies. In the PD curriculum, a special emphasis has been given to the emerging issues in the Emirati schools, such as bilingual school and assessment. Additionally, internationally topical issues such as community building and teachers’ interaction skills have also been noted in University PD curriculum.


“My experience with Cycle 1 students in the past two years in Al Raqia School has taught me that the Finnish approach is completely different than our teaching approaches in the UAE. The Finnish approach focuses on preventing a problem before it occurs. Teachers observe their students carefully, and have an open dialogue with other teachers and parents on that particular students’ performance.”  - Kheloud Al Dhaheri

from ‘ADEC Press release: Round table discussion on the Emirati-Finnish fusion programme at the 2012 GESS exhibition