In a major restructure of the education system, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced three ministers. Here are more about these ministers and their accomplishments so far.
The newly appointed Minister of Education is a leader with proven experience in revitalising the education sector and designing national initiatives.
In July 2020, Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi was named the Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs. In his role, he was at the fore of designing national initiatives to strengthen the UAE’s small and medium enterprise (SME) sector and promoting entrepreneurship in various industries. He was also tasked with setting a strategic direction and developing a general national policy for the country’s tourism sector.
Prior to that, he was the Minister of State for Higher Education, during which he supervised the development of higher education and scientific research in the UAE. He also formulated new policies for the sector and streamlined the work of higher education institutions to ensure quality outputs that match the requirements of the labour market.
In October 2017, pursuant to the ministerial amendment to the UAE Government, he took on the task of equipping UAE nationals with skills of the future.
The former chairman of the Federal Authority for Human Resources, Dr Al Falasi is also the chairman of the Board of Directors of the UAE Space Agency. He represented the space sector at the National Committee for Science, Technology and Innovation, and has served as a board member of Emirates Development Bank.
He has also held positions as the CEO of Masdar Company, vice-president of the Mubadala Industry Unit, board member of Tabreed, consultant for McKinsey & Company and director of strategy and tourism sector development at Dubai Tourism.
Dr Al Falasi holds a PhD from Monash University, a master’s degree from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and a bachelor’s degree in communication engineering from Khalifa University in the UAE.
The new Minister of State for Public Education and Future Technology, and chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Schools Establishment is an accomplished young minister.
Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri was the chairwoman of UAE Space Agency where she successfully oversaw the launch of UAE’s Hope Mars mission.
She was responsible for overseeing the agency’s mandate of guiding the space sector, ensuring its contribution to the national economy and to the UAE’s sustainable development.
She was also the chairwoman of the UAE Council of Scientists.
In 2017, she was appointed as Minister of State for Advanced Sciences. Her responsibilities included enhancing the contributions of advanced sciences to the development of UAE and its economy.
During her tenure as Minister of State for Advanced Technology, she spearheaded the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology’s efforts to empower the adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and promote research and development in the advanced science and technology sector, in order to create new industries that drive the shift towards a knowledge economy. This, in turn, was expected to contribute to the overall mandate of the ministry to strengthen the UAE’s industrial base, ensure in-country value, and raise the competitiveness of local industries.
She has also held positions as the chairwoman of the Emirates Scientists Council, chairwoman of the Fourth Industrial Revolution Council, chairwoman of the Dubai Future Academy Board of Trustees. She previously served as the deputy project manager and science lead of the Emirates Mars Mission (Hope) at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), before going on to be appointed chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency.
Previously, she was also the head of R&D at MBRSC, where she established the centre’s knowledge management, strategic research, and product assurance functionalities. She was also involved in DubaiSat-1 and DubaiSat-2, and in the establishment of the KhalifaSat programme.
In 2014, she was tasked with and led the establishment of the Advanced Aerial Systems Programme, where she championed development efforts on a prototype high altitude pseudo-satellite. The project resulted in a successful 24-hour flight of the unmanned vehicle, which recorded the highest altitude of any aircraft over UAE airspace.
In 2015, the World Economic Forum honoured her as one of its 50 Young Scientists for her contributions to science, technology, and engineering. She is also the first Emirati to have spoken on a global TED stage. In 2020, she was on the BBC’s list of 100 Women, and in 2021, she was also named in the Time 100 Next list of the most influential people from around the world.
Al Amiri holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in computer engineering from the American University of Sharjah.
The Minister of State for Early Education, Sara Awadh Musallam has vast experience in the field of education.
The chairperson of Abu Dhabi Department of Education and vice-chairperson of the board of directors at Du, has made major contributions to key vital government sectors.
Her previous roles include the director of private schools and quality assurance at Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, and vice-president of Aerospace, Renewables and ICT Platform at Mubadala Investment Company.
Her experience has gone beyond the public sector, as she also worked as a business analyst at BP International for several years.
She also holds the following positions in several other leading entities in the UAE:
• Member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council
• Member of Life Quality and Wellbeing Committee of Abu Dhabi Executive Committee
• Board member of Al Yah Satellite Communication Company (YahSat)
• Member of UAE Cabinet’s Education and Human Resources Council
• Member of the Board of Trustees of Khalifa Award for Education
• Member of the Board of Trustees of Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority
• Member of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council
• Member of the UAE’s National Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Management Authority
• Member of the Board of Trustees of Mohamed bin Zayed University for Humanities
• Member of the Board of Trustees of MODON
She holds a master’s degree in business administration from the American University of Sharjah and holds a bachelor’s degree in applied sciences in business administration as well as higher diploma in financial and banking services from the UAE’s Higher Colleges of Technology of Abu Dhabi. She is also a chartered financial analyst (CFA).
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