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Steps must be taken to reform education in the UAE
Posted on: 05 Dec 2013  |   Tags: dubai , Dubai Education , Study in Dubai ,

In a tweet to his millions of followers on Tuesday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, laid down a challenge to the nation. He called on “every man, woman and child to join us in the biggest ever national brainstorm session to find new ideas for health and education”, and he said that ideas sent to his email address would be discussed at a ministerial retreat. The call came at the same time as the release of the latest Arab Cultural Development Report, compiled by the Arab Thought Foundation, which reveals the need for educational reforms in Gulf nations. It demonstrates cause for concern in the UAE, which has the region’s highest unemployment rate among citizens (14 per cent overall, and 24 per cent among those aged 19 to 25). Across the region, up to 70 per cent of women aged 19 to 24 – including those with degrees – are unemployed. The report also indicates that Gulf nationals are dissatisfied with the standard of education they have received, with only 20 per cent of young people believing they are qualified for work in the private sector. It’s impossible to disagree with the assessment of Bila Al Budoor, from the UAE Ministry of Culture, that “there is a huge need for improvement”. He added: “We must link education with the expectations of the labour market.” Clearly, changes must be made if the UAE is to achieve its stated goal of moving away from its reliance on oil and gas and adopting a knowledge-based economy. Those changes must begin with the education system. Steps have already been taken – including the decision last month to merge academic streams to ensure that public school students are taught both science and humanities subjects to an advanced level – but more must be done in developing curricula and teaching standards. It is not a simple matter of quick fixes such as paying teachers more money with the expectation that they will rise to the occasion; it’s about seeking out and educating better teachers, to ensure that schools and colleges produce first-class, workplace-ready professionals in all fields. The doctors, engineers and company managers of tomorrow are in school right now, and the nation is acknowledging that it has a duty to them. Sheikh Mohammed has made it clear that this discussion has begun, and that it is inclusive. May his email inbox already be overflowing with bright ideas. Source: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/editorial/steps-must-be-taken-to-reform-education-in-the-uae#ixzz2maAfkNMu

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