UAE Cabinet announces education revolution
ABU DHABI // Broad-sweeping changes to the education system were announced yesterday after a brainstorming Cabinet retreat led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
After reviewing 65,000 suggestions from the public on how to improve the nation’s education system, the Cabinet adopted a range of measures including:
• Scrapping the preparatory year at university and developing subjects at secondary school level to match university requirements.
• Making teaching a more attractive option, with career progression and incentives.
• A licensing system, similar to that in western countries, for those who want to become teachers.
• A new system for evaluating and ranking universities.
• Assessment of educational performance at nurseries.
• Ridding the need for students to choose between science and arts streams early in secondary school.
Members of the public were also at the event on Sir Bani Yas Island.
“The UAE will never cease, even for one day, its quest for continuous development,” Sheikh Mohammed said at the session. “If it had done, we could not have reached what we are today.
“The UAE competitiveness edge in all fields is inspired by new ideas, sustained development and innovation. This represents a firm principle in the government action.”
Sheikh Mohammed called on all Emiratis and residents last week to send suggestions on ways to improve education in the country.
Another session will be held today to look at ways to improve the nation’s health system.
Yesterday’s session was billed as the largest brainstorming event to debate “the UAE’s main national issues”.
“I tried brainstorming with a small team and I wished to try it with my nation. The result has been 65,000 ideas,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted after the day-long session.
“The ministers discussed many ideas to raise the efficiency of teachers, and changing ways of education and increasing pupils’ skills.”
The Cabinet was joined by Shama Khaled, a disabled girl who sent a video to Sheikh Mohammed asking for easier exams for the disabled.
Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, presented Shama to the Cabinet.
Great efforts have been made to integrate special-needs children into mainstream education, but many residents took to Twitter to ask for more to be done.
“A lot of great suggestions were discussed today and we have adopted some of them, and other ideas we referred for study at specialised ministries,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted.
At today’s health session, the Cabinet will discuss quality of service, developing specialised care, raising the efficiency and competency of healthcare staff and making the career more attractive.
They will also look at matters including measures needed to limit the spread of disease.
Since Wednesday, doctors, teachers, students, parents and government officials have been tweeting thousands of suggestions, with the hashtag #uaebrainstorm trending.
An Arabic hashtag for the same purpose has been even more active.
“Many of the ideas are creative and distinct as we have been accustomed to from you … the participation doubles ministries’ responsibility,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Those wishing to send opinions can do so in English or Arabic on Twitter using the hashtag #uaebrainstorm or by logging on to www.uaepm.ae.
Videos can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated: December 8, 2013 04:00 AM