Beating 250 schools around the world, Qatar Academy for Science and Technology (QAST) won the Teaching and Learning Initiative prize at the International Schools Award 2020 in London, for its unprecedented approach in education.
The school was selected as one of the top 35 finalists, and is the only school in Qatar to have been nominated for this prestigious award, it was announced yesterday.
The competition had 10 categories of which the Teaching and Learning Category had the maximum number of applicants and finalists. QAST, part of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Pre-University Education, was honoured as a result of its approach to addressing Qatar’s Grand Challenges, through its unique and highly effective curriculum structure titled CRISP, which stands for Collaborate, Research, Innovate, Synthesise and Present.
The innovative high-school that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics was established in 2018 by QF to offer a unique education that equips students with the qualifications and the experiences they need to access some of the world’s leading universities while finding solutions to
current global challenges.
“I am delighted that our approach to empowering our students with the knowledge and skills they need to find solutions to the challenges we all face has been recognised so soon in our development,” Dr Gregory Moncada, director, QAST, said.
The team at QAST has developed a unique approach, which uses real world challenges within the context of their studies. Students are given challenges which they solve in teams over a six to eight-week period before presenting their solutions to key stakeholders. This enables students to begin using their academic knowledge and practical skills to solve real problems for a real audience from day one at the school.
“It is high praise indeed to have gained this level of recognition for our unique approach to truly embed real-life skills within a rigorous academic programme,” Vaughan Lewis, curriculum co-ordinator, said. “We have built a curriculum that gives new meaning to project-based learning and we look forward to sharing our model with the wider community.”
As the only QF school to offer both A level and AP qualifications, QAST sits in a unique position within the QF community. It is able to provide a viable alternative to the International Baccalaureate, which principal, Sam Abrams believes embraces the best of both IB and A levels.
Abrams explains, “The QAST programme opens doors, it prepares students for any career or university of their choosing because they leave us with not only evidence of their academic ability but a CV of how they’ve applied their knowledge to solve real problems for real businesses. This learning style is unprecedented, and it works.”
The team behind QAST includes passionate educationalists, parents and innovators. Their unique model is based on many years’ research into how young people learn and have applied that to a practical approach to prepare students for the future they are going into.
Working alongside neighbours at QF, including leading universities such as Texas A&M University at Qatar and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, QAST has an innovative and progressive network of support, facilities and knowledge.