Education in the United Arab Emirates


Education in the United Arab Emirates

= Basic education =

The UAE currently devotes approximately 25 percent of total federal government spending to education. Public education is free for male and female citizen children through the university level. Beginning in the academic year 2006–7, expatriate students may, for a fee, attend government schools. The UAE has one of the lowest pupil-to-teacher ratios (15:1) in the world. Education is compulsory through the ninth grade, although, according to the U.S. Department of State, this requirement is not enforced. Citizen children are required to attend gender-segregated schools through the sixth grade, the last grade of primary education. In 2004–5 approximately 9.9 percent of students in grades one through five and 8.3 percent of students in grades six through nine did not complete their education; this rate rose to 9.3 percent in grades 10–12. [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/UAE.pdf United Arab Emirates country profile] . Library of Congress Federal Research Division (July 2007). "This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain."]

Development program

The Ministry of Education has adopted “Education 2020,” a series of five-year plans designed to introduce advanced education techniques, improve innovative skills, and focus more on the self-learning abilities of students. As part of this program, an enhanced curriculum for mathematics and integrated science was introduced at first-grade level for the 2003–4 academic year in all government schools. In addition, the UAE government believes that a poor grasp of English is one of the main employment barriers for UAE nationals; as a first remedial step, the Abu Dhabi Education Council is developing an elementary school pilot program with Zayed University, which it hopes to extend to all schools in the emirate, to enhance student English language skills. In February 2006, the prime minister directed the education minister to take initial steps toward improving the quality of education, including the provision of permanent classrooms, computer laboratories, and modern facilities. In April 2007, however, in a major policy speech to the nation, the UAE vice president and prime minister stated that despite the steady increase in the education budget over the previous 20 years, teaching methods and curricula were obsolete, and the education system as a whole was weak. He demanded that the ministers of education and higher education work to find innovative and comprehensive solutions.

Higher Education

At the higher education level, numerous institutions are available to the student body. In 1976 UAE University (UAEU) was established in Al Ayn in Abu Dhabi. Consisting of nine colleges, it is considered by the UAE government to be the leading teaching and research institution in the country. More than 14,000 students were enrolled at UAEU in the first semester of the academic year 2006–7. In 1988 the first four Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) were opened. In the academic year 2005–6, 12 campuses offered more than 75 programs, with a combined enrollment of 15,000 men and women. The commercial arm of the HCT, the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training, is allied with multinational companies to provide training courses and professional development. In 1998 Zayed University was opened for women with campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. A new US$100.7 million campus in Dubai opened in 2006.

In 2003 Dubai established a dedicated education zone, Dubai Knowledge Village, based at Dubai Internet City, to bring together globally recognized international universities, training centers, e-learning, and research and development companies in one location. As of early 2007, it had attracted 16 international university partners. In October 2006, France’s Sorbonne opened a campus in Abu Dhabi.

According to the UAE government, the overall literacy rate is 91 percent. The government has set a goal of achieving full literacy before 2010.

ee also

* List of schools in the United Arab Emirates
* List of universities in the United Arab Emirates

References


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