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An enterprising Emirati minister who helped to send the UAE to Mars now has her sights firmly set on taking the country's public education system to new heights.

Sarah Al Amiri, who served as chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency until March, is on a mission to ensure government run-schools not only compare favourably with those in the private sector, but education institutions the world over.

Ms Al Amiri, who was appointed Minister of State for Public Education as part of an education shake-up two years ago, shared her ambitious vision for the present and future of government schools in an exclusive interview with The National.

Historically, parents in the UAE have preferred to send their children to private schools, if they could afford to do so.

But Ms Al Amiri – on the directives of the UAE leadership – wants this to change. Not just for Emiratis, but the country's large expatriate population, too.

“When I started two years ago, the first request from His Highness the President was to ensure that the public school system is competitive and becomes the school of choice for Emiratis and residents across the UAE,” Ms Al Amiri said.

Here, she sets out her blueprint to take public schools to the top of the class.

Thank you for reading,

Shireena Al Nowais

 

Sarah Al Amiri: UAE plans major overhaul of government schools

A leading Emirati minister on a mission to revamp the country's public education system has set out an action plan to drive up standards at government schools.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, said her goal was to ensure government institutions would one day be the “school of choice” for Emiratis and residents alike.

Ms Al Amiri was appointed to the role in May 2022 under a Ministry of Education shake-up, with the remit of upgrading the nation's public schools, often viewed as a poor relation to those in the private sector.

In an exclusive interview with The National, Ms Al Amiri spoke of efforts to expand the career prospects of teachers, focus on developing “dual language” learners and put public schools at the heart of communities.

When asked if she hoped public schools could eventually be on a par with private schools, she said: “Absolutely, this is the goal.

“When I started two years ago, the first request from His Highness the President was to ensure that the public school system is competitive and becomes the school of choice for Emiratis and residents across the UAE,” said Ms Al Amiri, also chairwoman of the board of directors of the Emirates Schools Establishment, which runs hundreds of public schools.

“Strengthening our foundations means understanding, addressing underlying issues, not just surface-level fixes.

“We have a clear vision for transforming education in the UAE.”

 

Did you know?

The Emirates Schools Establishment, chaired by Sarah Al Amiri, came into operation in 2021 with the goal of overseeing the development of the UAE's public school network.

 

Top Emirati school-leavers invited to apply for Dh1.1bn scholarship fund

Applications opened in April for a new programme that will grant 100 scholarships a year to Dubai's best-performing Emirati high school graduates.

The Hamdan bin Mohammed Scholarship Programme, launched this year by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, aims to empower the next generation of local talent.

The scheme, worth Dh1.1 billion ($299.5 million), also aims to boost the number of Emiratis employed in the private sector.

The scholarship is open to outstanding Emirati pupils who have graduated from public and private schools in the UAE and will cover tuition, living expenses and travel costs.

 

Sheikh Abdullah stresses importance of fostering strong Arabic skills

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said there is an urgent need to foster Arabic language skills in young students, state news agency Wam reported.

Sheikh Abdullah was addressing an online meeting of the Education and Human Resources Council, of which he is the chairman.

He said there was a need to “redouble efforts to significantly improve student academic achievement and enhance the effectiveness of teaching staff”.

 
Updated: May 30, 2024, 9:52 AM