UAE unveils major education changes with new ministers

Sheikh Mohammed says the goal is to ensure graduates are well prepared for the workplaces of the future

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The UAE has announced a shake-up at the Ministry of Education with new ministers chosen and a brief to re-evaluate how young people are taught.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said the goal of the changes is to ensure graduates are well prepared for the workplaces of the future.

"The education sector today is not the same as yesterday ... and our ambitions today are not like yesterday," Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter.

He set out structural changes across the education system, with increased focus on improving state schools and early childhood development.

Ahmed Al Falasi, currently Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, becomes Minister of Education, overseeing public and private schools and universities nationwide.

Sarah Al Amiri, an engineer who has led the UAE's space agency during historic missions, including sending a probe to Mars and an astronaut to the International Space Station, will oversee public education and how young people are taught about technology. Ms Al Amiri is currently Minister of State for Advanced Sciences.

Sheikh Mohammed confirmed the appointment of Ms Al Amiri as Minister of State for Public Education and Future Technology and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Schools Establishment.

"My leaders and role models, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, thank you for the trust you have placed in me by appointing me as Minister of State for Public Education and Future Technology and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Schools Establishment," Ms Al Amiri wrote on Twitter.

She has been directed to develop an integrated and comprehensive plan to upgrade public schools.

Sheikh Mohammed wrote: "After consultation with my brother, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, we announce today a major structural change in the UAE’s education sector.

"We appointed Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi as the Minister of Education. We directed him to review all legislations and policies related to the education system in our country."

Hussein Al Hammadi, the previous Minister of Education, and Jameela Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education, were thanked for their service by Sheikh Mohammed.

In a tweet, Mr Al Falasi added: "It was an honour to work with you in the team of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. All thanks and appreciation to you and we ask God for success for all of us."

New focus on birth to Year 4

Sheikh Mohammed also announced the newly established Federal Authority for Early Education, affiliated with the Cabinet.

"We also announce the appointment of Sara Musallam as the Minister of State for Early Education, and to supervise the newly established Federal Authority for Early Education.

"Sara will be responsible for developing comprehensive plans to follow up the child development from birth to the fourth grade.

"The correct development of our children is the guarantee of our education’s success."

"We also announce the restructuring of the Education and Human Resources Council, headed by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, so that the council will supervise the project for the future of education in the country in line with our ambitions, consolidate our national identity, and ensure educational outcomes that meet our future development, economic and social needs," Sheikh Mohammed said.

Roles and responsibilities

The Federal Authority for Quality and Standards of Education

A new specialised authority to be affiliated with the UAE Cabinet. It will be mainly responsible for measuring the outcomes, student performance, and the efficiency of the educational process.

The authority will be responsible for measuring the quality of education; auditing educational outputs; early childhood education; kindergarten; public education; and higher education, in addition to submitting reports on the results and proposals to develop policies, strategies, legislation and curricula.

The Federal Authority for Early Childhood Education

The new structure created a federal authority specialised in early childhood education, to develop and introduce comprehensive plans to follow up the child development from birth to the fourth grade. Affiliated with the UAE Cabinet, the authority will be responsible for developing policies, strategies, legislations and programmes related to the education needs of the early childhood stage.

The authority will be responsible for setting regulations and standards, and issuing licenses and monitoring government and private nurseries, in co-ordination with local authorities. It will also work with parents to enhance their role in the early childhood stage.

Pupils from a government-run school visit Expo 2020 Dubai. There will be renewed emphasis on improving the public education system, which is largely attended by Emiratis. Pawan Singh / The National

Developing the Ministry of Education

According to the new structure, the responsibilities of the Ministry of Education will include developing policies, strategies and legislation related to public and higher education.

The ministry’s functions include managing and developing the general education framework; curricula and tools for government public education schools; developing curricula for compulsory educational materials for private schools; setting standards and regulations; and issuing licenses and monitoring private schools in co-ordination with the competent local authorities.

The work of the ministry also consists of supervising international exams in the country and managing their implementation in all public, private and higher education institutions, in co-ordination with the concerned authorities.

It also recognises public and higher education institutions operating outside the country, the equivalency of certificates and qualifications they grant, and ratification of certificates and qualifications issued by public and higher education and training institutions licensed within the country.

The Emirates Schools Establishment

The new structure of the education system included the Emirates Schools Establishment, which comes under the umbrella of the UAE Cabinet. This is focused on the efficiency of government schools and nurseries, supervising public schools in the country, and implementing policies, strategies and standards related to the development of the education sector.

Under the new structure, the Establishment will also be specialised in developing student-care programmes, activities and events in public schools, supervising their implementation, and proposing innovative and new models for operating public schools to raise their efficiency.

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Updated: May 22, 2022, 7:48 PM
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