Hands on Learning

In October 2014, the Al Qasimi Foundation's pilot year of Hands on Learning (HOL) began as part of the capacity development initiatives that result from the Foundation's research activities. The program, which was founded in Australia in 1999, is a targeted student intervention method that aims to re-engage students who are at risk of dropping out of school by creating a safe and comfortable environment for them to be actively involved in hands-on building, landscaping, renovation, and art projects. These projects are designed to serve the students' schools and local communities. Engaging in these projects outside of their regular classrooms allows students to discover how much they can achieve while also enabling them to develop critical life skills such as collaboration, leadership, problem solving, resilience, communication, and empathy.


  • Increase attendance rates
  • Build relationships
  • Develop character
  • Discourage bullying
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Strengthen communication skills
  • Achieve success at school

How it works

During the 2014-2015 school year, the Al Qasimi Foundation worked with two boys' government schools (cycles 2 and 3) in Ras Al Khaimah to establish HOL in those schools. In the HOL model, while the artisan-teacher acts as the instructor and facilitator for the program during its class meetings, students are self-directed and encouraged to be creative, thinking of their own ways to build meaningful projects that can serve them, their schools, and their communities. Small groups of approximately 10 students of varied ages and abilities followed their regular class schedules four days each week while spending one day each week in an HOL classroom. Here, students worked collaboratively with one to two artisan-teachers in HOL for the entire day.