Archive for the ‘SABIS, Erbil, Kurdistan’ Category

Sabis University

Posted: February 6, 2012 in sabis, SABIS, Erbil, Kurdistan

SABIS® University (SU) recently held its first award ceremony honoring students who successfully completed courses thorough the university’s Continuing Education Department. Held on November 21, 2011, in the university’s assembly hall in Erbil, Kurdistan, the ceremony brought together SU students, faculty, staff, SABIS® team members, and supporters—including several of Kurdistan’s ministers—who celebrated the 24 students who received certificates of successful completion for the Cambridge International Certificate for Teachers and Trainers (CICTT) program or the International Computer Driving License (ICDL).
“SABIS® University is pleased to have contributed to these individuals’ achievement by providing the environment necessary for learning and by partnering with prestigious organizations such as Cambridge International Examinations,” said Mr. Carl Bistany, Chairman of the SABIS® University Board, in a speech delivered at the ceremony. He continued, “This means that the certificates we award today are more than just pieces of paper; they represent the successful completion of programs that are recognized world-wide; and they open the door to boundless opportunities for the future.”
There were eight recipients of the CICTT certificate, all of whom are Ministry of Education teachers who teach in SABIS® Public-Private Partnership schools in Kurdistan. The program provided these teachers with world-class instruction to enhance their skills through a two-semester, practice-based professional development course.
“The aim is to develop innovative, reflective teachers and trainers who are able to implement international best-practices in their day-to-day teaching,” stated Mr. Myles Holloway, SABIS® Special Projects Coordinator-English and CICTT program leader. “Our candidates’ success in this demanding course is a positive sign that these Ministry of Education teachers in Kurdistan are ready to embrace the challenges of the future,” added Mr. Holloway.
Of the eight CICTT certificate recipients, an impressive three were honored with “distinction” status, indicating that they took a coherent, appropriate, and relevant approach in interacting with learners and have the confidence to innovate in a realistic and resourceful manner.
Rounding out the certificate recipients at the ceremony were the 16 ICDL candidates who received certificates in the internationally-recognized, integrated digital literacy program. SU’s ICDL course provided students with comprehensive curriculum useful in today’s high-tech world, covering IT, computer and file management, word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentations, and online information and communication.
Addressing the audience at the ceremony in his first visit to a private university, Kurdistan Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR), Professor Dlawer Ala’aadin said “MOHESR has embarked on a journey to reform the entire higher education system to be in sync with the rest of the world.” He continued, specifically referencing SABIS® University, “You have given us enough confidence in your contribution to make us one world.”
Established in 2009, SABIS® University currently offers 16 degree programs in the College of Business and Management Studies and the College of Education. These colleges were carefully selected and designed to fulfill the critical education and industry needs of Kurdistan and to meet the demands of the global workplace.
For more information about SABIS® University, please visit

The SABIS® School Network is proud to announce the impending opening of four new Public-Private Partnership (PPP) schools to be located in various cities across Kurdistan, the semi-autonomous region located in northern Iraq. Supported by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and operated by SABIS®, the four schools will open in September 2012 and are expected to collectively serve 1,000+ students in grades K-2. The schools will expand by one grade level in each subsequent year of operation until they offer full K-12 programs.

Mr. Burhan Abdulla Adel, General Director of Kurdistan’s Ministry of Education expressed his gratitude toward SABIS® for its contribution to education in the region. He commented, “I am very happy to see that more children in Kurdistan will be benefiting from such quality education…I hope this educational experience will expand to reach every village in Kurdistan.”

The schools’ locations have been carefully selected to ensure that even students in the most remote parts of Kurdistan have the opportunity to attend a SABIS® PPP school. As such, the four new schools will open in rural areas where students there may not otherwise have access to a world-class education. Additionally, SABIS® will engage in training more than 150 teachers from Kurdistan’s Ministry of Education with an aim to ultimately foster efficient, self-reliant operations at all schools.

“The value added to students attending SABIS® PPP schools is remarkable,” commented Mr. Raed Mahmoud, SABIS® Representative in Kurdistan. “As a result, parents and community members have put a lot of pressure on government officials to increase enrollment and/or open similar schools in their neighborhoods. With the addition of these four new PPP schools, their request has been granted.”

The new schools will join SABIS®’s existing schools in Kurdistan – three PPP schools and two private schools, as well as the SABIS® University in Kurdistan. SABIS®’s involvement in the region began in 2006 as operator of the International School of Choueifat-Erbil. Two years after seeing students benefit from the SABIS® Educational System, in 2008 Kurdish leaders embarked on a Public-Private Partnership project with SABIS® in order to bring those same benefits to Kurdish students attending public schools. Today, SABIS® schools in Kurdistan are thriving in their respective communities and provide a world-class education to a combined total of nearly 3,900 students.

In addition to joining the growing network of SABIS®’s schools in Kurdistan, the four PPP schools will become part of the global SABIS® School Network comprised of schools in 15 countries on four continents. These schools educate thousands of students who follow the efficient, high-quality SABIS® Educational System, which provides them with the knowledge, skills, and experiences to excel in college and beyond.

For more information about SABIS® or the Public-Private Partnership schools in Kurdistan, visit and

Source: , 29-11-11

From tree-planting ceremonies to concerts, schools in the SABIS® School Network have organized, and are continuing to plan, festive celebrations in honor of the organization’s 125th anniversary. Some of the highlights from recent celebrations across the network include a celebration by the International Schools of Choueifat-Egypt, which gathered together more than 4,000 students, teachers, and parents from both ISC-City of 6 October and ISC-Cairo on October 15, 2010. Following a welcome address, speeches from the school directors, and a cake-cutting ceremony, an olive tree was planted, symbolizing the growth and future of the two ISC-Egypt schools.

At Linwood Public Charter School (LPCS) in Louisiana, U.S., the celebration was equally elaborate, with a “Grand Style-Red Carpet Gala Affair” held on October 15, 2010. Taking place during the school’s Student Life period, students and staff joined in the 125th celebration which included speeches and festive dances. Fitting for a red carpet affair, LPCS’s gymnasium was transformed into a ballroom where formally-dressed students, teachers, staff, and parents entered the event via a red carpet complete with photographers. A large painting of the trunk of the SABIS® tree hung on the wall and included students’ notes and well wishes in the form of leaves affixed to the tree.

In Lebanon, all three schools–ISC-Choueifat, ISC-Koura, and SABIS® International School-Adma–held their commemorative events on October 15, 2010. Naturally, SABIS®’s mother school, ISC-Choueifat, had a rich program for the event which included speeches by SABIS® Chairperson, Mrs. Leila Saad, Lebanon’s Acting Minister of Tourism, ISC Alumni Association President, and SABIS® alumnus, Mr. Fadi Abboud, and ISC-Choueifat Director, Mr. Ghassan Abdel Baki. The program also included ISC-Choueifat students who sang traditional Lebanese songs and performed folk dances.

On October 23, 2010, Kurdistan’s ISC-Erbil community of teachers, staff, and students acknowledged SABIS®’s 125th anniversary with a decorated campus, complete with white balloons and flowers. Along with speeches, dancing, and singing, the ISC-Erbil students and staff commemorated the event by planting 125 olive trees on the school’s campus. More than 500 guests were in attendance including dignitaries such as Kurdistan’s Minister of Interior, Minister of Planning, Minister of Municipalities and Tourism, and the Iraqi Minister of National Security. The event culminated when 100 biodegradable balloons were released into the sky at the close of the celebration.

Not to be outdone by their sister school in Erbil, SABIS® Public-Private Partnership (PPP) schools in Kurdistan also got in the spirit to mark the start of SABIS®’s 125th anniversary year. On October 23, 2010, the Fakhir Mergasori International School, Sardam International School, and Sarwaran International School held celebrations at their respective schools. The events included singing of the Kurdish national anthem, warm speeches, many student performances, and cake-cutting ceremonies. Additionally, similar to celebrations occurring around the world at SABIS® schools, a tree planting ceremony took place in the schools’ gardens. Notably, Sardam International School students and staff planted 125 olive trees on the future ISC campus being built in Duhok, Kurdistan. Sustaining the festive spirit of the celebrations, the events closed with a lively Kurdish dance which involved students, parents, and staff.

In the U.A.E., ISC-Abu Dhabi ushered in the 125th year of SABIS® with fanfare on October 16, 2010. Decorated with dozens of SABIS® flags, balloons, and bouquets of flowers, the school hosted an event which gathered 1,200 students, staff, and guests. Carefully planned by ISC-Abu Dhabi’s SLO™, the anniversary celebration included speeches, dances, student performances, and a cake-cutting ceremony. Additionally, the event featured addresses from alumni who praised the SABIS® system and encouraged students to reach for their goals. The celebration also included outdoor activities, where 300 students participated in games and activities such as sack races and apple-eating contests.

One hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations will continue throughout the global SABIS® School Network through October 15, 2011 to honor the organization’s impressive history and celebrate its ongoing achievements.
(extract from current SABIS newsletter, complete version at )

My name is Semaan Semaan, I am a Math’s teacher at the International School of Choueifat in Erbil. I arrived in Erbil on October 4th and till now I am enjoying my time both in and outside the classroom. This position is my first job since I graduated in July 2008. My first day of teaching was on October 5th and I was excited but a little bit nervous. I was excited because this was the first time I was actually the teacher rather than the student! And all the studying I did while I was at university is now being applied to the lessons that I teach my students. My nerves rose both from standing in front of a full class of students and my worry that this was the first time I was a teacher and that I might not be able to express myself clearly to the students. However, the students were quiet, this was partly due to the fact that I was new and they were curious about the way I would teach and keep discipline in class. Fortunately, my excitement to teach helped me to handle my nerves and in all I think that I did well teaching my first class

One of the most helpful things in the SABIS® system is the ‘Pacing Chart’. The pacing chart is a schedule of systematic plans that helped me know what and how many concepts I have to teach per period, week and month. This part of the SABIS® system is one of many that make this system unique and personally one that has helped me a lot in settling into my new career.

The structure of the staff in the Sabis system has helped me in overcoming my initial problems and that of my students. The overall structure of the Sabis system consists of the Director, A.Q.C. (Academic Quality Controller) and H.O.D. (Head of Department). The role of the H.O.D. is to guide and help his department’s teachers in any in-class issues. For me this was a great help as my H.O.D. guided me in creating lesson plans and advised me on how to structure my lessons. The role of the A.Q.C. is to help with out-of-class and student related concerns. My A.Q.C. has helped me by working with me in helping contact the parents of students in my class who were weak in maths and who I wanted to help in after class tutoring lessons. Finally, the Directors position is one that is so important to all concerned to the school. As far as I am concerned Dr. Humaira Bokhari, the Director of the International School of Choueifat -Erbil has advised, helped and supported me in every aspect of my life in Erbil. Be it school related or out of school she has morally and socially supported me in expressing myself and has helped me develop into a more analytical person in English, which is not my mother tongue.

This was my first time abroad and I was afraid that the amenities I was used to would not be available to me while I was here. But the fact that the campus is state of the art and offers everything you would logically want and require has helped me to overcome my apprehensions. Although I miss my friends and family in Lebanon I have not felt lonely due to the wonderful friends I have made here. I have particularly made three very good friends that care for me and advise me. These friends make me feel as though my mother and brother are here with me in Erbil. Overall I am enjoying my time a lot here and it is an honor for me to be a member of the SABIS® network.

I was contacted by KS for an interview, after I applied for a teaching position at the Choueifat School in Erbil, Kurdistan. It was actually RL’s wit and a great sense of humor that put me at ease, and within days I was ready to fly out. I was most pleasantly surprised, when I was offered to stay overnight at ISC-Dubai, enroute to Erbil. This was truly an example of SABIS® Support!!
The two weeks of training flew by so fast. The pacing charts, merged into lesson plans, and the lesson plans became point systems and I was in the classroom and then I did not know what was going on! I was out of breath and exhausted. It was 45°C. After Virginia, it felt like being roasted in an oven!
Had it not been for the support that I received from the administration, KH, Head of the English department, and colleagues like JS and E, I would surely have left in the third week of school. But I soon found out that SABIS® takes care of its own and provides all sorts of support.
Now, I’m so happily settled at ISC-Erbil, that I’ve not only signed up to teach in the summer, but if invited back, plan on continuing to serve the students here.
To add to everything else ISC-Erbil campus is impressive and so are the staff accommodations.

I am once again astounded by negative comments posted elsewhere on the web (where a teacher who has left the SABIS school in Erbil openly and viciously castigates the school, without any evidence, on the world wide web for all to see and apparently believe THEN I receive a Google Alert this morning from an OFFICIAL VERIFIABLE SOURCE. (I once again ask, why do people blog falsehoods so blatantly? Is there an automatic assumption that the rest of the world are thick? Below is an article published in the Kurdish national newspaper commending SABIS:

Thursday, 25 September 2008, 04:45 EDT
Choueifat School excels in Erbil
By Qassim Khidhir
The Kurdish Globe

 “A superb education system gives students and parents a better choice.

 Due to the exceptional performance of the Choueifat School in Erbil, other SABIS Network schools may soon open in regional cities.

When Humara Bokhari was informed that she would be serving as the director of the Choueifat International School in Erbil city in Iraqi Kurdistan Region, she began searching the Internet for the answers to two of her most pressing questions. First, is Kurdistan Region safe? Second, is there electricity? Both answers, she discovered, were positive.

Bokhari was born in Pakistan. She was a teacher there at the Choueifat International School for 15 years and for 20 years in the U.S. The school, currently in 44 countries, is part of the SABIS International Education System Network.

But Choueifat in Erbil, which opened in September 2006, is the first SABIS school in Iraq. In August 2008, it moved to a permanent campus capable of housing up to 2,500 students, and it includes a semi-Olympic-sized swimming pool as well as modern classrooms, IT and science laboratories, a library, and staff accommodations. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) donated most of the construction funds for the new campus.

The school was opened due to the growing demand to learn English and the increase in the number of Kurdistan families returning from abroad.

Bokhari told the Globe that the school now has around 670 students; more parents continue to show up every day to register their kids, she said. The KRG pays the fees for those gifted students who previously studied in government schools.

Bokhari expects that in the future Choueifat will open a second school in Erbil and a first school in other Kurdistan Region cities, including Suleimaniya. Duhok city will welcome its first Choueifat College next year.

SABIS Network is currently training several local teachers in Kurdistan so that they may be able to teach in Choueifat schools in the region.

“We have 19 foreign teachers in the school, mostly from the UK, the U.S., and Lebanon,” said Bokhari.

UK resident Juliette Sexton is now a teacher at the Choueifat School in Erbil. She admitted she was nervous about security before she arrived. “Now I am here and I don’t feel nervous,” she said. She described her students as excellent, pleasant, and keen on learning.”