Setting world records, taking local trips: How UAE schools are promoting culture of the nation

Ministry of Education called on private schools earlier to follow guidelines on promoting Emirates' identity


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 8 Dec 2022, 1:46 PM

Last updated: Thu 8 Dec 2022, 2:50 PM

Schools in the UAE underline that they have systems and processes in place, ensuring that the national identity is embedded in their schools' curriculum, resources and the institution’s environment.

Institutions also highlight that they even provide training and continuous support to their staff in order to sensitise everyone in upholding the values of the country.

This affirmation comes after the UAE's Ministry of Education recently called on private schools to follow the guidelines on promoting the Emirates' identity, stressing that penalties shall be imposed on violators.

Zafar Raja, Chief Operating Officer, GEMS Education, opines, “As a UAE-born organisation, we are proud to promote the culture and value of the nation in our 41 UAE schools. We have students and staff from all over the world, and one of the things that bind us all is the UAE’s values of tolerance, innovation and excellence. The legacy and growth of GEMS Education in the UAE are intrinsically linked to the values of the country. We welcome the new directive as it reflects what many of our schools are already doing every day. We will continue to operate within the guidelines and directives of the Ministry.”

Abigail Fishbourne, Director of Learning, International Schools Partnership, Middle East, opines, “In the UAE, we do this with guidance from the Ministry of Education, as well as ADEK and KHDA. We have systems and processes in place, so that the staff receive training, mentoring and support in understanding the role they play in ensuring areas of the school like the curriculum, resources and environments reflect and celebrate the national identity. Our schools also ensure they meet all guidelines, and regularly host community events like National day and Flag Day. As a group we have also lead initiatives like a UAE Poetry competition where poems highlighted the love students have for the UAE; our Quran recitation and Arabic Reading Challenges; and also, the World Record we obtained last year, where we had the most nationalities engaged in a History Lesson about the UAE.


Principals reiterate as educators they have a pivotal role in supporting the preservation of the UAE’s national heritage.

Different school groups aver that they appreciate the country’s traditions and are compliant with the national requirements and local regulations, while delivering an international learning experience to their students.

David Wade, Principal/CEO, GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa, opined, “We support all government initiatives to promote the values and culture of the United Arab Emirates. As a largely expatriate school community made up of 88 different nationalities, we recognise the importance or Emirati identity and the role that we play as educators in this country that we have all chosen to make our home.

Wade adds, “The playing of the national anthem each morning starts our day of education, and our curriculum is enriched by local trips and visits, and by reference to Emirati heritage and customs, all with the aim of meeting the priorities defined within the UAE National Agenda for Education.”

Principals reiterate as educators; they believe that they have a pivotal role in supporting the preservation of the UAE’s national heritage and promoting the culture and values of this nation.

Muhammad Ali Kottakkulam, Principal, Gulf Indian High School, Dubai, opined, “We provide a learning environment that nurtures young minds with a comprehensive, well-rounded education with an international dimension adapted to the needs of students living in the UAE. We strongly focus on the elements that make the UAE culturally distinct, which is crucial for helping today's generation prepare for tomorrow.”

He adds, “The teaching of UAE’s history and culture is important so that they understand what has taken place in this country, and how past generations were able to cope with life here. GIHS has always met all points in the new directives of the Ministry of Education and other regulatory authorities in this regard.”

Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO and Principal, Credence High School Dubai, says, "At Credence, we take pride in being a part of this beautiful and forward-thinking country, The United Arab Emirates. All of us at school, students, and staff sing The UAE National anthem with pride every day, and understanding of Emirati culture is embedded in the curriculum. National Day is celebrated with great fervour, wherein students, staff, and parents participate in various activities enthusiastically, a clear reflection of the pride that we all have for this great nation. Moral, social and cultural studies ( MSC ) is taught across all grades to help our students understand the morals, values, and culture of the UAE."

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