Private schools in UAE told to champion Emirati culture and national identity

Ministry of Education reminder follows video showing staff and pupils of a school raising US flag at National Day event

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The Ministry of Education has called on private schools across the country to promote national identity and Emirati culture.

The reminder comes after a video showed staff and pupils of a school raising the US flag during celebrations marking the UAE’s 51st National Day this month.

A statement by the Emirates Schools Establishment said the recording was shared by a parent and taken out of context. The school involved was not named.

“The recording of the celebration at one of the country’s schools was made by a parent,” the statement read.

“Part of the celebration [was] meant to show the UAE being honoured by a number of countries, during which flags of several countries were raised. But the parent made a recording of only one part of the show.”

The ministry said an investigation is under way.

It also issued a reminder that filming children and posting footage of them without the approval of their parents is prohibited.

The ministry also told private schools that they must get prior approval for extra-curricular activities and celebrations.

Educators must follow rules laid out in Federal Decree Law No 18, which was issued in 2020. These include:

  • Avoid activities that do not promote national identity and only raise the UAE flag and sing the national anthem
  • Respect the country’s symbols and place official pictures of its Rulers that are approved by authorities
  • Pictures or paintings depicting people and symbols from other countries are not permitted
  • Public morals, values and UAE’s culture must be observed in schools' everyday activities
  • Anything that goes against the country’s laws, culture and principles should not be included in the curriculum

Schools that do not follow rules will be given warnings, followed by fines up to Dh1 million ($272,260) and temporary or permanent closure, said officials.

Updated: December 06, 2022, 1:01 PM