UAE restructures education system: Experts hail inclusion of ministers with entrepreneurship, technology background

Move will help upskill students as multiple authorities have been set up to support the development of this vital sector



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Nandini Sircar

Published: Mon 23 May 2022, 8:34 PM

Experts across UAE’s education sector have hailed the move to restructure its education system, calling it “futuristic” as the country ushers in three ministers with entrepreneurship and technology backgrounds to handle the country’s education portfolio.

They opine the move will further help upskill students as multiple authorities have been set up to support the development of this vital sector.

Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi is the Minister of Education, and he will review all legislation and policies related to the education system in the country.

Sarah Al Amiri is Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and the Chairperson of the Emirates Schools Establishment. She will develop a comprehensive plan to upgrade public schools in the country.

Sara Musallam is Minister of State for Early Education. She will supervise the newly established Federal Authority for Early Education.

Angela Jones-Glukhov, Director of Program Development & Outreach - Hale Education Group, opines, “It is exciting to see Ministers with backgrounds in education, entrepreneurship, and technology come together to steward education in the UAE to meet the demands of the 21st century. The UAE is home to so many extraordinary students with entrepreneurial ideas and projects, many in the tech entrepreneurship space, and their number increases each year. These students are the future. The UAE is taking strides to ensure education supports the creative minds of its many students.”

“In addition to bringing together three Ministers to oversee the education sector, there are other innovation challenges, projects, and programs throughout the UAE that engage students in experiential learning. This prepares them to approach problems with a versatile intellect and critical mind making their education future-proof. We are confident that the appointment of the new ministers will only scale the education and entrepreneurship sector further,” Angela added.

The new structure in the education sector includes the Education and Human Resources Council, Federal Authority for Quality of Education, Ministry of Education, Federal Authority for Early Childhood Education, Emirates Schools Establishment, and the local educational authorities in each emirate.

All these institutions will operate according to one system and specific competencies.

Professor Ammar Kaka, Provost, and Vice-Principal at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, said, “current trends show that the future workplace will bear little resemblance to work as it stands today. We are already seeing some evidence of this change – for example, the growth of careers and jobs which once never existed, the changing profile of the university student of today and a shift towards lifelong learning rather than just a focus on acquiring a degree.”

Studies show that the global workforce is predicted to grow by 230 million people by 2030, and the job market is rapidly changing, with around two billion jobs predicted to change due to new technology, decarbonisation and new growth industries.

Kaka adds, “A $8.5bn talent shortage is predicted by 2030. The restructuring of the education system in the UAE should result in students from this region being more successful than ever before in the highly competitive global workforce.”

Reinforcing the need to reimagine the education landscape to equip children with all the skill sets and learning opportunities required for workplaces of the future, Dr Adil Alzarooni, Founder, Citizens School Dubai said, “We wholeheartedly support the appointment of dedicated ministers and believe this landmark shift will go on to achieve remarkable growth for the nation through an enhanced strategy that focuses on the needs of young and future generation within the UAE’s education sector. We welcome the idea of focusing on entrepreneurship and early child education, to support the future development, economic and social needs for the nation.”

Federal Authority for Early Childhood Education and its implications

Educationists further underline that establishing an independent early education authority is a strategic and timely decision, especially in view of the pandemic.

Ghadeer Abu-Shamat, Superintendent/CEO, GEMS Al Khaleej International School and Vice President – Education, GEMS Education, said, “This focus on the early stages of education will positively impact students’ results and progress in the coming years, as the first years of school are an important foundational stage from an academic point of view and in terms of social and emotional development of students.”

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The federal authority will develop and implement comprehensive plans to follow up development from birth to the fourth grade. Affiliated with the UAE Cabinet, the authority will be responsible for developing policies, strategies, legislation, and programmes related to the education needs of the early childhood stage.

She adds, “The appointment of a minister specialised in this field will accelerate the development of early education in the country, whether in private or government schools, by developing the necessary strategies, implementation plans and evaluation criteria. The UAE is rightly focused on equipping students with life skills such as communication, leadership, critical thinking, cooperation, and teamwork.”


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