KHDA launches its Latest Programme - The Dubai Saturday Club

By Ifda Taj, Senior Reporter for the Light House

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) initiated Dubai Saturday club is an innovative and informal educational program taking inspiration from a similar program in the United Kingdom, The National Art and Design Saturday Club.

Participants arrived from all over the city.

The club renders an inventive platform for inquisitive young minds seeking knowledge beyond books. Chief of Creativity, Happiness and Innovation (CHI) at KHDA, Hind Al Mualla said, “One of the strengths of the Saturday Club is that it helps students to get away from their usual school routine and meet students from other schools. It values them and gives them an insight into a world of work.” It was held in Dubai Design District (d3) on March 5 and 19, April 16 and 30 and May 7 and 21 in partnership with the Dubai Design District, the Dubai Design and Fashion Council and the Dubai Creativity Clusters authority.

The purpose of the club is to nurture social skills, ingenuity and originality of its members and hone the skills of students with prowess in art, entrepreneurship, technology, design and media. 
 The program delivered its motives through workshops on 6 Saturdays with a four to five hour session.

The organizers came up with various segments for each Saturday namely the technology segment, wellness segment, business segment and the entrepreneur segment. Mr. Mualla commented on the layout of the program , “We want to nurture young people’s talent, build self-esteem and show them pathways and careers in the creative industries. This is a new range of careers they would not necessarily have thought of.” The segments particularly targeted at a scope. Participants were encouraged to stimulate their inner capabilities and problem solving skills. Each workshop segment was conducted by exceptional, enthusiastic, encouraging and experienced mentors including Henri Holm, Roberto Kauffman, Tina Yazdi and Fabio d’Emilio.

The speakers and mentors engaged with the students in every task.

In the first session, the students were presented with creative problems and challenges. They were encouraged to form groups and devise solutions by collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. In the technology segment, the teams were encouraged to ponder upon a product they think would benefit the world in the best and most creative way possible. They were encouraged to analyze and debate upon the good and bad of the product and ultimately devise a prototype.

The marketing skills segment encouraged the members to work on achieving goals and motives like how they would in the real business market. They had to persuade customers and sell products, designs, and render services.

Students collaborated and worked collectively.

In the Wellness sector, the students were given knowledge on wellbeing and the importance of inner peace and mindfulness. They performed yoga and aerobics along with the mentors and were taught about stress-relief techniques. In the entrepreneur segment teams were tested on their practical skills with challenges about existing business models and questioned on the sustainability of their solutions. Another interesting surprise for the students was the visit by the creators of Angry Birds, who spoke about their experiences and proposed ideas.

Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, The Director General of KHDA, said, “To keep making progress in education, we have to come up with creative ideas and innovative solutions where we inspire school students to think outside the box and work collaboratively. Students will find real-life solutions by showcasing their innovation and creativity at the Saturday Club.

A lot of hardwork went into the presentations for the exhibition.

On 21st May, the last day of the club, an exhibition was held for guests from KHDA and parents of participants. The Critics and KHDA professionals came to view the results of the club and were highly satisfied. The teams displayed their prototypes and introduced their designs and presentations on it. These prototypes are to be displayed at several events across Dubai hereon.

The Indian High School gladly sent students from the school to the Saturday club to expose them to this highly beneficial learning experience. Around 6 students from IHS partook in this club. One of the school’s students, Kunal Chhatwani said, “I loved the experience! It helped me hone my abilities and collaborative skills. I can surely say that Dubai Saturday Club was indeed helpful for students and hats off to the organizers for putting up this amazing learning platform.”

Khushbu from IHS working on her 
 team’s marketing.

The students have been able to foster their communication and collaboration skills, get acquainted with various personalities and make new friends, gain exposure to stupefying challenges and creativity, build their confidence and enjoy a fun-filled event. Khushbu Bhatnagar, an IHS student who attended the Dubai Saturday Club says, “The Saturday Club provided me a platform to interact with various people and helped me build up my self-esteem. The mentors were really encouraging and inspiring, I really look up to them and they have helped bring out the best possible version of me.’’ These real life ‘survival’ skills were exactly what the mentors aimed to inculcate and hone in students.

About the Reporter:
Ifda Taj is a Senior Reporter for the Light House, currently studying in The Indian High School, Dubai.