United International Private School (UIPS), the first Filipino elementary and high school based in Dubai, held its first grand alumni homecoming at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Malate, Manila, over the weekend.
Former UIPS students, including those who graduated in 1992 up to 2013, graced the occasion not just to reminisce their younger years, but to plan undertakings to continue the spirit, mission and vision of UIPS in their chosen fields.
Dr. Mohammed Al Neyadi, UIPS owner and managing director, said the alumni event aimed to rekindle campus experiences and to convince former students to give back to society the blessings that they had received.
Neyadi, in his welcome remarks, said he has earmarked P100,000 as initial fund so that the alumni would be able to meet and plan out a blueprint to develop three major fields, namely: education, entrepreneurship and medicine. UIPS also donated cash to victims of recent calamities like typhoons Ondoy and Yolanda.
After graduation, UIPS students are seen to come back to the Philippines for their college education. Many of them are now engineers, doctors and professionals.
From a handful of 250 students in 1992, the student population of the institution has reached 1,800, 97 percent of which are Filipinos. Out of the 94 faculty members, 75 are licensed Filipino teachers.
“That is the way we make sure that we deliver the right basic education to our students,” Neyadi said.
He noted that the school follows the curriculum of the Department of Education (DepEd). Hence, the school will also implement the K-to-12 program. “By 2016, we will start the 11th grade,” Neyadi said.
Education officials are scheduled to train UIPS faculty on the K-to-12 program.
In recognition of its excellence, top universities in the Philippines hold their entrance examinations in the UIPS campus like the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University.
Neyadi said universities in the United Arab Emirates and the rest of the Gulf region and Africa also recognize the DepEd curriculum. This explains why UIPS also has students of different nationalities.
“Filipinos are part of the development of my country. You bring your dreams and hopes to my country. I want you to achieve those. But, first you must be educated, and that is the purpose of UIPS, to equip you with proper knowledge and skills, to prepare your future, and hope someday you will serve your country as efficient professionals,” Neyadi said, addressing UIPS students and alumni.
In her keynote address, Undersecretary Mary Grace Tirona, executive director of Commission on Filipino Overseas, expressed the Philippines’ gratitude to Neyadi and his UIPS staff for ensuring quality education to children of Filipino expatriates.
Tirona enjoined the graduates to continue the spirit of UIPS, and invited them to look for jobs in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism and Department of Trade and Industry.
Jenny Gonzales, UIPS communications and human resource head, said the alumni event had four objectives—to gather and reconnect all the past and present alumni and mentors of the school, to serve as an inspiration in heart and in mind to future graduates, to create a source of social responsibilities and advocacies especially in times of calamities and to put up a networking hub wherein all graduates and students of UIPS will interconnect and support each other.
Neyadi said alumni events are also being planned in various countries, including one in Dubai.