UAE committed to strong government schools, says Sheikh Abdullah

Minister said his own children attend public schools

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Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, has urged Emiratis to send their children to government schools.

In an address to this week's two-day government meeting of 500 senior officials, he expressed his full confidence in the quality of the UAE education system and revealed that he sends his children to a public school.

“It may be a hard question, but how many of you are ready to send your children to government schools today?” Sheikh Abdullah said in his speech in Arabic.

What I do not accept for my children’s education I will not accept for the education of the people of the UAE
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed

“In the year of the foundation of the federation, we had less than 33,000 pupils across the country and the number of schools was only 74.

“Today we have 1,404 government and private schools. We have reached 23 different curriculums, including our national curriculum.

“Today, I, like many citizens, reached a conviction that our children should be in government schools. I was committed to that.

“I will follow up on the progress of my children with full details.

“What I do not accept for my children’s education I will not accept for the education of the people of the UAE.”

In May, the UAE announced a shake-up at the Ministry of Education with new ministers chosen to improve education at all levels.

They were given the task of setting out structural changes across the system, with an increased focus on improving state schools and early childhood development.

The following month, they set out a plan to overhaul government-run schools, with investment in teachers and more parental involvement in how children are taught.

The ministers said there would be a renewed focus on maths and science taught in English from a young age.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Future Technology, said the ultimate aim was that the changes benefit every pupil in public schools across the country.

Earlier this week, President Sheikh Mohamed told the meetings of senior officials in Abu Dhabi that education remains a key priority for the UAE.

“Today at the UAE Government Annual Meetings I attended a session discussing the future of education, which remains one of our key strategic priorities,” said Sheikh Mohamed in a tweet.

“By harnessing innovation and investing in our people, the UAE’s journey of progress will continue.”

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, revealed that the sessions had mapped out a clear plan for the future of education.

“My brother Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan witnessed today a part of the annual meetings of the UAE government. The education sessions with Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed and ministers were clear [and] transparent and they drew up an integral map for the education system,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“Education will remain a priority in the vision of the President of the country, with the efforts of a specialised government team and with an active and interactive educational field and with a society of parents who contribute to bringing up a generation that takes us to new future horizons.”

Updated: November 25, 2022, 5:10 AM