The national teacher licensing programme will begin accepting applicants from public and private schools in February, the Ministry of Education said on Tuesday.
"The implementation of the resolution to obtain a licence will start next February and comprises two tests; a specialised test and a test focusing on teaching methods," the MoE said on Twitter, quoting Minister of Education Hussain Al Hammadi. "Those who don't pass the test the first time will get another two chances, and the ministry will provide training programmes to support teachers who need to enhance certain skills."
The Teacher and Educational Leadership Standards (Tels) and Licensing programme, as the new system is called, has been in planning since 2013, when the Cabinet launched a national steering committee to pave the way for teachers to be licensed.
The committee was chaired by the National Qualifications Authority and included representatives of the MoE, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, and the Institute of Applied Technology.
Two pilot versions of the system were tested last year in private schools by Adek in Abu Dhabi and the KHDA in Dubai.
In Dubai, 106 teachers were issued Competent Teacher Status, a document that proves they meet the TELSUAE criteria and are licensed.
Last year, the minister announced that by 2021 all teaching staff — teachers, principals, vice principals and cluster managers — will be required to hold a CTS to work in schools.
In his tweets on Tuesday, the minister said the 2021 deadline remains in place.
“Teacher licensing is a step aiming to develop education and attract competent teaching professionals that meet the expectations of the ministry for quality education,” said Mr Al Hammadi.
“The licence will give the teacher the priority to join the teaching profession as well as financial incentives and living allowances in addition to its importance in enhancing teaching methods and achieving outstanding academic outcomes for the students.”
Details regarding how teaching staff will be able to apply for the licence are yet to be clarified by the MoE. On Wednesday, Mr Al Hammadi said more information would be made available later this month.