Top-performing UAE private education groups have been selected to run government schools, with new teachers, staff and management to be recruited.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said the new model announced on Monday would serve thousands of pupils nationwide.
Known as Ajyal Schools, or Generation Schools, they will be run by private school groups Taaleem, Aldar Education and Bloom Education, a government news release read.
Arabic language, Islamic studies and social studies teachers will remain in place at the schools, with "highly qualified and experienced" teachers hired for subjects such as science and mathematics.
The new education model was launched by Emirates Schools Establishment, a body which manages and operates public schools in the Emirates.
Ten schools will be run by these groups in the first year - starting from September - rising to 28 within three years.
They will adopt the national curriculum — including Arabic language and Islamic studies — with an extra focus on science and mathematics.
Tuition fees will be funded by the government, Sheikh Mohammed said in a tweet, as is largely the case with public schools. Most pupils in government schools are Emiratis.
He said the decision followed structural changes to the education system set out last month following the election of the President, Sheikh Mohamed.
New ministers were appointed under plans to re-evaluate how young people are taught, with an increased focus on improving state schools and early childhood development.
As part of the Ministry of Education shake-up, Ahmed Al Falasi, formerly Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, became Minister of Education, overseeing public and private schools and universities nationwide.
Sarah Al Amiri, an engineer who led the UAE's space agency during historic missions, has been asked to oversee public education and how young people are taught about technology. Ms Al Amiri becomes Minister of State for Public Education and Future Technology and Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Schools Establishment.
“This project comes as part of our plans to develop the educational system in the country, provide more options, opportunities, and educational models for our students, and qualify a leading generation capable of creating the future, supporting and developing the education sector is a continuous process,” Ms Al Amiri said in a statement.
“The government will support students enrolled in Ajyal Schools by bearing students’ fees and all operating expenses.”
Last year, two schools in Dubai, in the Mirdif and Barsha neighbourhoods, were opened under a public-private partnership model.
Under the brand Dubai Schools, they are operated by the private operator Taaleem. Fees are in the mid-range, varying from Dh29,000 to Dh36,000 per year.