▶ Spe­cial tours will teach school pupils the history of world fairs

The National - News - - NEWS - RAMOLA TAL­WAR BADAM

Tens of thou­sands of pupils will visit Dubai Expo 2020 once it opens in just un­der a year’s time.

This month, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion signed an agree­ment with pri­vate ed­u­ca­tion groups through­out the coun­try, com­mit­ting to more than one mil­lion school vis­its to the 438-hectare site in Dubai South.

Or­gan­is­ers said spe­cial tours would teach chil­dren the history and sig­nif­i­cance of ex­pos and build on the nu­mer­ous school vis­its that have been car­ried out so far.

More than 1,000 pupils from Dubai Bri­tish School have al­ready been to the con­struc­tion site and there are plans for 9,000 chil­dren from school de­vel­oper Taaleem to visit the area.

“The chil­dren have a good un­der­stand­ing not just about where the expo site is phys­i­cally but also what the rea­son be­hind the expo is and the op­por­tu­ni­ties made avail­able,” said Dubai Bri­tish School prin­ci­pal Bren­don Ful­ton.

“As part of our so­cial stud­ies pro­gramme we want them to re­flect on how im­por­tant it is that this is be­ing held in Dubai, what this means for the legacy of the UAE and its vi­sion for a sus­tain­able fu­ture.”

The school hopes pupils will be in­spired enough to par­tic­i­pate in a young in­no­va­tors chal­lenge. The win­ners will have their ideas for in­ven­tions fea­tured on­line or at the expo.

“We are look­ing at giv­ing pupils an op­por­tu­nity to think of their own in­ven­tions across the three Expo 2020 themes of op­por­tu­nity, mo­bil­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity,” Mr Ful­ton said.

“One thing all of them wanted to know at the start was what the expo ac­tu­ally is. So we did a lot of work look­ing at dif­fer­ent in­ven­tions that took place at ex­pos in the past.”

The Vis­i­tors’ Cen­tre presents quirky in­for­ma­tion about in­ven­tions dis­played at pre­vi­ous ex­pos – such as Heinz To­mato Ketchup be­ing in­tro­duced at the Philadel­phia World Ex­po­si­tion in 1876.

The tele­phone was also dis­played for the first time at that fair and, al­most a cen­tury later, the mo­bile phone at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Ja­pan.

Site vis­its to Dubai South have also got chil­dren think­ing about get­ting in­volved in the Expo 2020 Young Stars chal­lenge.

Some are now mak­ing plans to per­form at the gi­ant Al Wasl Plaza domed struc­ture, cre­at­ing shows that cap­ture the spirit of the world fair.

“We are brain­storm­ing to try to think of ideas cen­tred on the Expo 2020 themes,” said Shreya Parikh, 13, from In­dian High School in Dubai, who re­cently vis­ited the site with her par­ents.

“It will be very dif­fer­ent from our school performanc­es. We need to think of a the­atri­cal show that has a broad plot and is not too heavy on di­a­logue so it will be un­der­stood by peo­ple who speak dif­fer­ent lan­guages,” she said.

Schools keen on sign­ing up have been asked to send in­for­ma­tion, pho­to­graphs and video of past performanc­es with specifics about orig­i­nal­ity in mu­si­cal scores and themes.

“Expo 2020 is plac­ing school pupils at its heart and con­tribut­ing to a pos­i­tive, last­ing im­pact on our chil­dren’s present and fu­ture,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Emi­rates air­line and the Emi­rates Group and chair­man of the Higher Com­mit­tee of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Four school tours have been de­signed and will run through­out the six-month world fair.

Tick­ets cost Dh50 for each pupil per trip and schools can reg­is­ter on­line by the end of the year.

Expo 2020 Dubai

More than 1,000 pupils from Dubai have al­ready vis­ited the Expo 2020 site to see how con­struc­tion is pro­gress­ing

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