The Ministry of Education was established around 1970 as His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan declared education among the priorities of progress.
23 July 2013| Last updated on 8 January 2018
With the goal of having an educational system that harmonises with the best universal educational standards, the MOE has the responsibility of supervising education at a national level. More specifically, it plans, executes, and supervises all the schools in the country.
The Ministry of Education has adopted 'Education 2020', an educational development strategy based on 5-year plans. As part of this strategy, the government introduced new programmes in mathematics and science in 2004.
History Of Education In The UAE
The development of education in the UAE started effectively in 1962, where the number of schools then was barely 20 schools, in which less than 4000 students studied, mostly male students. The necessary infrastructure was often unavailable in many social services venues including hospitals, households, airports . . etc. due to the lack of necessary manpower.
Upon the exploration of Oil and the beginning of development, the UAE focused a lot of attention on education, as His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan considered education among the priorities of progress. He said openly that the Youth are the real wealth of the Nation. He was overly generous when it came to education related projects that aspired for the gradual improvement of education in order to prepare a new generation capable of contributing to the progress of the Nation.
When the Federation was established in 1971, educational services were still immature and inaccessible to many cities and villages. Enrollment rate was nearly 28 thousand students. Higher education was unavailable locally; therefore students had to seek other countries to pursue higher education after school on the government expense. At the same time, the state leadership sought tirelessly to prepare the necessary infrastructure for the educational sector.
Government educational institutions supervising education were established in 1970, whereas regular education was organized to be in four stages:
Kindergarten (4-5 years)
Elementary (6-11 years)
Intermediate (12-14 years)
Secondary (15-17 years)
Accordingly, education witnessed a development process run by the government in which all necessary tools were provided. It included both male and female students alike, to get their free public schooling. At a later stage, private education appeared to complement public education to provide schooling for almost 40% of UAE students.
Private education distinguished itself with a special attention given to the education of foreign languages for national and expatriate students, in addition to other subjects like science and math.
Education continued to be an obsession for the State, which lead to the adoption of a futuristic plan for the development of education during the next twenty years, with a vision polarized on reaching higher standards in line with the inputs of science and technology. The plan incorporates the education of information technology, eradication of computer illiteracy, preserving social values and ethics, and promoting traditional values among the youth.
Nationalization of Education
The new plan pays attention to attracting nationals to education in order to raise the rate of nationals in the educational sector into 90% by the year 2020. There are currently schools in the different regions and rural areas to ensure the right of education for all without discrimination.
Women and Education
UAE women utilized to the maximum all opportunities provided through the various educational programs run by the government, and they proved to be highly responsible. The high schools results for three consecutive years (1996-1999) are a real evidence of women excellence, since the highest grades and best results were recorded for female students; a factor that lead many UAE women to occupy leadership positions on different governmental levels.
Women work side by side with men in both the public and private sectors, and proved themselves through excellence that compares to men working in similar positions.
Currently, the female gradates of Al Ain University and Technology colleges are working in different companies and administrations, where they perform many duties and careers including Engineering, Applied Sciences, Media, Communication, and Information Technology.
Information Technology is a top priority on the list of education objectives in the UAE in general, and in Dubai in particular, where His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, launched his own educational initiative for the schools of Dubai in the year 2000. Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Secondary School was the first to implement this initiative, followed later by the schools of Abu Dhabi in a comprehensive plan to spread the experience among all schools in the country.
The preparation of a generation of UAE nationals capable of serving their nation, characterized by ambition and aspiration to develop the nation, as well as the provision of the best electronic educational tools and modern laboratories, improving curricula to match actual developments on the ground, and providing online training for students through a special gateway for the project, are just to name a few of the objectives set by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Education was conjoined with a special attention given to an array of youth activities including extra curricula activities. Special entities were assigned the job of running culture, arts, science and scouts clubs which organize social activities and camps, teach the Holy Quran, and nurture the social and cultural sense among students.
The State paid special attention to the education and rehabilitation of the youth in order to empower them with knowledge needed to live up to the challenges and advancements they might encounter. Therefore, the state ran a special illiteracy eradication program in cooperation with the Women Federation Society.
There are still ongoing efforts with a strong will to succeed, and we can synthesize the results of this initiative through a very simple comparison. In 1975, literacy among men was 54.2% while among women it was 30.3%, whereas in 1998, the rates reached 73.4% for men, and 77.1% for women.
Children with Special Needs
A special department was established in the Ministry of Education to cater for children with special needs, to empower them for positive contributions to their communities. This department started to record some success such as:
The establishment of a special farm run completely by a group of physically challenged students. The farm was called Zayed Agricultural Center for the challenged. The project received huge attention and praise on an international level.
Schools of Tomorrow
To match the Federal Government Strategy, the Ministry of Education in cooperation with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research dedicated itself to the implementation of a joint project to eliminate refresher classes given at colleges and universities for high school graduates upon enrollment. A workgroup comprising members from the Ministry of Education, the University of Emirates, Zayed University and Higher Technology colleges was formed to put in place a school development plan to be implemented starting from the academic year 2007/2008.
A Novel Strategic Plan
The State adopted a new strategy in which the Ministry of Education has a very large contribution.