Gyproc's Round Table Discussion on Education Sector
Gyproc’s growing focus on the UAE Education sector was again highlighted on 7th December when the company’s Dubai Head Office provided the venue for a round table discussion on modern school design, hosted by Middle East Architect.
Technical and sales experts from the company joined a high level list of leading architects, engineers, and material specialists, as well as teachers and school operators, to discuss the range of issues now facing the Middle East’s rapidly developing Education sector.
Whilst subjects for discussion ranged from changing technologies and class structures to the growing flexibility in teaching methods that is now becoming the norm, the main focus of the day was school acoustics, and the role they play in ensuring that students can optimize the benefit of the education they receive.
Gyproc’s Senior Technical Development Manager, Jason Hird, emphasized the key role that communication plays in learning. “Children must be able to hear what the teacher is saying - and teachers must be able to make themselves heard”, he said.
A video on the day underlined the depth of research into this subject, highlighting the fact that pupils, just four rows away from the teacher, may hear only 50% of what is being said, and then fill in the blanks for themselves. In addition, the group were told, the pressure of trying to make themselves understood can lead to severe stress-related problems for teachers.
Whilst the group recognized the importance of good acoustics, Hird bemoaned the fact that cost pressures can often lead to ‘value engineering’ and consequent scaling back of the specification. “Going back to try and tackle the problem later causes even greater costs to be incurred”, he said, “as well as disrupting the smooth running of the school, and ultimately affecting pupils’ education.”
Gyproc’s Education Sector Specialist, Marloes Meer, pointed out that good acoustics not only meant engineering the environment within the classroom, but had to take account of noise coming from outside – from corridors, through floors or from outside the building. The panel agreed that a discourse between all involved parties – architects, engineers, contractors and clients, was essential at the outset of the project to ensure that the best and most cost-effective result is obtained.
“With education key not just to the future of our pupils, but to the future prosperity of the UAE as a whole”, concluded Hird, “investing slightly more in good acoustic design and systems is essential if we are to maximize the benefits of education for our society.”
Contributors to the round table discussions included:
- Pete Stapley: Senior Client Manager - GEMS Education
- Kapil Kapoor: Chief Finance Officer - Taaleem.
- Andrew Turner: Senior Project Manager - Hepher
- Salim Hussain: Architect - Atkins
- Maram Sherif: Schools Specialist – Lacasa
- Jason Burnside: School Designer - Godwin Austen Johnson
- Ahmed Abdul Hameed: School Designer - National Engineering Bureau.