|The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports|
|United Arab Emirates|
Part I: Descriptive Section
In order to set up the proper framework for the evaluation of national efforts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in view of achieving the goal of Education for All (EFA) in the year 2000, and in accordance with the 1990 Jomtien Conference, this section of the report presents the goals of the education policy of the Emirates in line with the general framework of the World Declaration, mainly as regards early childhood care, primary education, literacy and adult education. This section covers also the activities undertaken in this field in the last decade of the twentieth century, regional, sub-regional and international coordination efforts, and general and specific consultations in these fields. It provides also an overview of the decision-makers and of all those concerned with the administration of the proposed activities.
General and specific goals for the UAE
First -General goal for early childhood care:
Expansion of early childhood care and development activities, including family and community interventions, especially for poor, disadvantaged and disabled children
Goals of early childhood care in view of the broader goal of education for all:
The educational goals of the children's education in kindergartens are derived from the broader goal of human development of children in this stage, as well as the present intellectual tendencies. The Ministry of Education and Youth in the UAE adopted these goals with clear fundamental guiding principals, providing a comprehensive and complete education for children. They are as follows:
The main foundations of the kindergarten philosophy in the UAE are derived from:
Second -General goal for basic education:
Universal access to, and completion of, basic education by the year 2000.
Goals and targets of basic education for the Education for All on the national level:
The goals of basic education are concomitant with the broader goals of the State's education policy. They are the following:
Third Goals for private education in the UAE:
Fourth General goal for the improvement of learning achievement:
Improvement of learning achievement such that an agreed percentage of an appropriate age cohort attains or surpasses a defined level of necessary learning achievement
Special goals for the UAE:
Fifth General goal for adult literacy:
Reduction of the adult illiteracy rate by the year 2000 to one-half its 1990 level, with sufficient emphasis on female literacy to significantly reduce the current disparities between male and female illiteracy rates.
Special goals of adult literacy in view of the broader goal of Education for All:
* The general goals were defined according to the general tendencies of the State and the education policy as well as the global illiteracy campaign. It also took into consideration the general goals and the various skills in basic education.
Sixth General goal for training in essential skills:
Expansion of provisions of basic education and training in other essential skills required by youth and adults, with programme effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioral changes and impacts on health, employment and productivity.
Goal of training in essential skills in view of the broader goal of Education for All:
The pursued goal is to eradicate illiteracy by the year 2000. However, there is still a strong need to face the high drop-out rates in primary and secondary education, which may create social problems especially as regards the mismatch between the learning outputs and the needs of the labor market; the main reason being the lack of a series of technical and practical skills. Therefore, the national education development strategy in the UAE, provided for in the 2000 Vision, comprises a project for adult education and lifelong education, aiming at achieving the following strategic targets:
Seventh General goal of education for better living:
Increased acquisition by individuals and families of the knowledge, skills and values required for better living and sound and sustainable development, made available through all education channels, including the mass media, other forms of modern and traditional communication and social action, with effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioral change.
Learning goals for better living in view of the broader goal of education for all:
Strategy and Plan of Action
First Early childhood care and development strategies and plans of action:
The kindergarten cycle is the basic stage preparing for primary education. It is indeed a strong bridge transporting the little child from the confined world of his family home to the diversified school environment. The kindergarten cycle has nowadays its own educational philosophy, sophisticated educational requirements, comprehensive educational goals encompassing behavior, knowledge, emotions and skills, and modern curricula.
Therefore, the educational authorities in the UAE consider the kindergarten cycle as an inherent part of the public education system, not to say a component of a single unit. For this purpose, they created an educational institution providing care for the children between 4 and 6 years of age, such as to attain comprehensive and balanced growth for children in all physical, intellectual, psychological aspects, in addition to strengthening and developing their abilities through games and free activities.
The educational and psychological studies undertaken in the developed countries nowadays, show the growing interest in early childhood. It is in fact a critical stage with clearly defined characteristics, that serve as a basis for the renewal of the kindergartens educational programmes.
The main foundations and the national strategic procedure for early childhood care and development (ECCD) in the UAE are as follows:
Comprehensiveness and flexibility are the main characteristics of the present kindergarten curriculum in the UAE. It aims mainly at developing the children's experiences, behaviors and tendencies, and pays particular attention to the rapid growth of children. The Ministry adopted the principle of expertise units in 1982; a modern curriculum for kindergartens was introduced in 99/2000 on the basis of the principle of self-education.
Second Strategy and plans of action for universal enrollment in basic education:
The Ministry asked the administration responsible for kindergartens and primary education to supervise primary public schools, through executing the following tasks:
Third - Strategy and plans of action for the universal enrollment in private education:
In reference to the goals stipulated by the Law on private education, the management strategy of private education grants licenses for building new private education institutions or expending or rehabilitating old ones, in conformity with the procedures provided for in the federal legislation and its executive draft law.
Private school system:
While foreign private schools are compelled to:
Fourth Strategy and plan of action for the improvement of learning achievement:
The improvement of learning achievement is one of the main goals of the educational strategy, involving all the Ministry's bodies, educational zones, and schools which participate in its elaboration, implementation and drawing of its results. Therefore, all plans of action, of whatever length, should give the top priority to this goal.
The following steps can serve as a basis for the plan of action, in order to assess the progress made so far in learning achievement, and therefore improve it if the results aren't up to expectations:
Fifth Strategy and plan of action for adult literacy rate in the UAE:
The main strategy, plans and programmes are extremely pragmatic and ambitious, for they are based on what have been achieved so far in this field. Consequently, they recognize the need for the illiterates to have access to modern production means, which require the acquisition of reading and numeracy skills, the capability to deal with newly emerging cultural concepts and therefore understanding the related scientific principles, laws and scope of application. A clearly defined strategy is therefore needed to reach this goal.
Sixth Strategy and plan of action for essential skills training:
Special curricula and guidelines covering all the stages of literacy and adult education were elaborated in view of achieving the general goal and the State's specific goals. A particular attention was given to vocational education, thus giving a genuine image of the adult education's policy, aiming at responding to the needs of the labor market in the UAE.
Seventh Strategy and plan of action for education for better living:
The Ministry of Education and Youth registered positive results in the last decade, in reinforcing and rehabilitating the education system. This was made possible through the administration of public relations, educational publicity and media, and coordination and follow up with private and mass State-run media regarding the education and learning processes. The educational media section participates in the preparation and production of programmes providing information related to the Ministry and the educational process in general. Indeed, some of these programmes focus on educational courses, awareness, advise and counseling, in addition to the programmes on educational matters, comments and researches.
Decision-making and management
First Decision-making and management of early childhood care and development:
The administration of kindergartens and primary schools is mainly responsible for the provision of educational services for ECCD. Given that it is one of the administrations of the department of educational affairs in the Ministry of Education, it is financed from the Ministry's annual budget, comprising three subdivisions: wages and salaries; services; and special expenditures. But the higher authorities in the Ministry must approve first any development project financed by the Ministry's budget.
There are also independent kindergartens financed by the women's federation and associations. The curricula are the same as those applied in public kindergartens. The annual coordination with the Ministry of Education and Youth helps to define the needs of the administrative, technical and teaching personnel. An employee form Ministry is therefore delegated to work in the federation or association concerned.
Second - Decision-making and management of the universal enrollment in basic education:
The administration of kindergartens and primary schools is the main party in the Ministry of Education and Youth entitled to take decisions regarding the strategy and plan of action for basic education. It is also responsible for the improvement of work in primary schools according to the proposals of the education experts, in order to find the most appropriate substitutes.
The higher authority in the Ministry of Education and Youth struggles to provide basic education requirements for the pupils in the primary cycle, on the material, moral, and psychological levels. Such requirements include the intellectual, psychological, social and material needs, related to the school building and affiliates.
The factors affecting basic education enrollment, the education and learning processes and their results, are as follows:
According to the guidelines of the State's education policy, the studies made on pupils in State-run schools, and in application of the provisions of the Constitution, the decisions regulating the provision of care services for those suffering from social, health, educational, and psychological handicaps and their professional rehabilitation, an organizational framework was set up for the Ministry of Education and Youth, by virtue of the ministerial decree n.10 of 1980. It provides for a special department for private education where the administration of social services defines and diagnoses the cases of handicap, in coordination with the local authorities.
Third Decision-making and management for private education:
The administration of private education is one of the administrations affiliated to the department of educational affairs. The decision-making is based on the adequate information, upon consultation between the Director of the administration and the assistant officer for the department of educational affairs.
The organization chart of the administration of private education is as follows:
Organization chart of the administration of private education
Assistant officer for the department of educational affairs
Administration of private education
Director of the administration
Vice-director / Abu Dhabi
Vice-director / Dubai
Pupil services department
Pupil services department
Advise and control in private schools:
Fourth Decision-making for the improvement of learning achievement:
The Ministry took a series of decisions to improve learning achievement, among which:
Fifth Decision-making and management for adult literacy and education:
A series of regulatory decisions have been adopted to organize the educational process in adult literacy and education centers:
Sixth Decision-making and administration for essential skills:
The State adopted the following main administrative legislations:
Seventh The party responsible for decision-making for education for better living:
According to the organizational framework of the Ministry, the Minister (of Education and Youth) is mainly and directly responsible for decision-making and for giving the proper directives to develop the educational process for better living. He issues the decisions and the directives related to the education and learning processes.
Activities since 1990
First Activities in early childhood care and development:
Creating a kindergartens development center:
Second Main activities and achievements in basic education:
Developing courses in accordance with the State's educational philosophy, in the fields of human sciences, cultural education, computing, extracurricular activities, and upgrading of English language skills, by developing the curricula starting the primary cycle. The Ministry aims also at adding new courses to the general curriculum:
The future curricula will register a quantum leap in the field of education as they will focus on skills and values rather than on abstract conventional education.
Third Special educational activities for the UAE:
Given the growing expansion of private schools, the department of private education became an administration in 1978. The administration executed the vested tasks by supervising the education, control and advise processes. Private schools participated also in all the school activities organized in their educational zone, such as educational fairs, general celebrations, and diverse other activities organized by the Ministry.
Fourth General activities for the improvement of learning achievement since 1990:
The following activities were undertaken:
Fifth Adult education and literacy activities since 1990:
The main activities in the field of adult education were as follows:
Sixth Essential skills training since 1990:
The administration of adult education holds annual sessions for the administrative personnel, including the centers' presidents and vice-presidents, as well as the administrative supervisors, in coordination with the administration of educational training and rehabilitation. They were mainly:
Seventh Education for better living activities:
The educational media played a major role in generalizing education for better living. The main means and activities used for this purpose were:
The departments of educational media in the various educational zones in the Emirates have also played a substantial role, by issuing educational bulletins and periodicals.
First Cooperation in early childhood care and development:
The World Declaration of Education for All encompassed all aspects of basic education and its various functions.
The future perspective for modern education matches perfectly the policy adopted by the present Ministry of Education and Youth, and corresponds both to this Declaration. Therefore, it is normal to see the Ministry exploit the educational strategies, activities and events organized by the global education institutions.
The Conference on free compulsory education in the Arab States held in 1994 in Cairo, is an indicator of the maturity of Arab States in the field of education.
The UAE followed suit and succeeded in making education "general, unified, compulsory and free in all cycles all over the territory", by virtue of article 17 of the Constitution.
Many delegations continue to attend world conferences organized by the UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDBAS, the UNESCO's regional offices, and the ALECSO; in addition to Arab or other conferences. The UAE are trying to take full advantage of the proposals and theories unveiled during such events.
The national committee for education, culture and sciences in the Ministry aims at playing an efficient and active role in this regards, to facilitate communication, open new world perspectives benefiting from on-the-field experiences and outdoor studies, and undertake comparative studies enabling the administration to start where others ended.
Second Cooperation in universal enrollment in basic education:
The administration of kindergartens and primary schools supervises, through the department of educational affairs in the Ministry of Education and Youth, the provision of basic educational services in public schools in all the educational zones. They are financed by the budget earmarked for the Ministry from the general federal budget of the UAE.
Also, other administrations in the Ministry and regional and international organizations joined efforts to reach the educational goals in this basic cycle. They are as follows:
Third Cooperation in private education:
The administration of private education cooperates with all international institutions and organizations, in coordination with the different bodies in the Ministry. The result was:
It was an occasion to exchange opinions and advise and to assess the achievements of private education institutions in these countries.
Fourth Cooperation in the improvement of learning achievement:
The Ministry cooperates constantly with international organizations, in order to develop its work and participate in the global human and scientific assessment.
The main targets reached so far in this field are:
Fifth Cooperation in adult literacy and education:
A supervisory and follow up committee was created headed by the Minister of Education and Youth, and the membership of the ministries of Defense, Interior, Finance, Labor and Social Affairs, and women associations, in order to coordinate adult literacy efforts. The following subcommittees were derived from this main committee: planing and statistics committee, curricula committee, rehabilitation and training committee, media committee, and finance committee. Each subcommittee elaborated the adequate plan according to its competencies.
Note that the Ministry of Education and Youth, women associations, and social development centers affiliated to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs are the sole providers of adult literacy services in the Emirates. Also, charity associations, the Majed cultural association's center, teachers and lawmen associations, and other associations, clubs, and charitable associations contributed, in one way or the other, to adult education.
Based on the literacy plan prepared by the Ministry of Education and Youth, the Ministry cooperated with several domestic bodies, to implement diverse plans, programmes, and projects, mainly:
The Ministry cooperated with the following foreign bodies in the field of adult literacy:
Sixth Cooperation in essential skills training:
The ministries organize essential skills training session in the field of adult literacy and education. The main training sessions being:
Seventh Cooperation in education for better living:
A new strategy for cooperation with international organizations and local bodies was elaborated. It consists of concluding educational and cultural agreements, holding exhibitions and conferences, participating in meetings and seminars related to educational and cultural issues, exchanging information and knowledge between the Ministry and the local and foreign educational and cultural institutions.
First - Investment in early childhood care and development since 1990:
Public kindergartens of the Ministry of Education and Youth in the United Arab Emirates are either independent kindergartens, or part of common cycles schools. The present policy of the Ministry is oriented towards the creation of independent buildings for kindergartens, not related to the other cycles of education, given the specificity of this cycle, in terms of the building's architecture as well as the implementation procedure of the curriculum.
Second Investment in basic education:
(The building of Man is a national need for the coming stage, far more important than the building of factories and plants. Because our people won't enjoy prosperity or welfare as long as we don't create a virtuous Man). This statement by the His Highness the Head of State, clearly demonstrates that Man is the greatest investment this country can ever make.
Therefore, all the money invested in the education of future generations will be ultimately beneficial. Aware of this fact, the educational institution and the authorities concerned in the government earmarked a special budget for the Ministry of Education and Youth, which increases every year. However, no precise budget was earmarked for basic education, which remains funded by the general budget of the Ministry.
Third Investment in private education in the UAE:
Contrary to private schools, the administration of private education has no independent budget as it is part of the Ministry's administrations. It has continuously developed its services according to the increases in enrollment fees.
The Ministry interferes in the increase of these fees to preserve the balance between the services and facilities offered to the pupils and the school employees, and the parents' capacity to pay the fees.
Fourth Investment in the improvement of learning achievement:
Substantial and obvious changes were introduced in the expenditure procedures in the previous years, following the increase in the annual budget of the Ministry of Education and Youth. Needless to say that the Ministry is fully supported by all the State's bodies and the local governments, thanks to the rational policy adopted by His Highness the Head of State.
Fifth Investment: expenditure and changes in adult literacy and education:
The government earmarked a substantial part of its budget for the adult literacy and education programme. It covers the creation of new centers, the publishing of manuals, and the payment of salaries and rewards for teachers, administrative staff and employees. The increase in the education's budget responds to the increase in the number of centers, teachers, administrative staff, and employees.
Note that the expenditure on adult education fall under the broader issue of expenditure on public education. However, a special budget is earmarked for the monthly rewards to the educational and administrative personnel. The following table represents the expenditure on adult education:
Expenditure on adult literacy and education centers
Sixth Investment in essential skills training:
The Ministry of Education and Youth organizes, through the administration of adult literacy and education, and in cooperation with the administration of technical training and educational rehabilitation, training and rehabilitation sessions and diversified workshops all year-long for the teachers and the administrative and technical staff in adult literacy and education centers.
Seventh Investment in education for better living:
The Ministry of Education and Youth covers up to 40% of the preparation and production cost of the programmes broadcast in the various media; the remaining 60% being covered by the media themselves. The Ministry earmarked a special budget to cover these expenditures.