Advanced Education in a Changing World: The Education Strategy of the United Arab Emirates

Realizing the vital role education plays in achieving the UAE current goals of sustainable development, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) organizes an annual education conference. The education conference also comes in line with the directives of the wise leadership in this regard, which has been embodied in the federal and local institutions adopting a number of strategies, plans, and initiatives that aim to enhance the quality of education, embrace innovation and technology standards, and move toward a knowledge- and technology-based economy, highlighted by UAE Vision 2021.

The ECSSR holds the 9th Annual Education Conference, “Advanced Education in a Changing World: The Education Strategy of the United Arab Emirates,” on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 20-21, 2018. The conference will discuss various topics such as: global trends in developing education that adapts to the future; the UAE’s education strategy and the requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR); school counseling as a foundation of modern education; and international models for education development.


Education and Jobs of the Future: Developing Qualified Human Capital to Secure the UAE’s Progress

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) 10th Annual Education Conference, titled ‘Education and Jobs of the Future: Developing Qualified Human Capital to Secure the UAE’s Progress’, will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 12 and 13, 2019. This year's conference examines a vital issue that has come to dominate the interests of all countries – the role of education in the face of unprecedented transformations brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Artificial Intelligence. Taking a comprehensive and in-depth approach, the conference consists of four expert panels; Education and Preparing UAE Generations for 4IR; Jobs of the Future: Ambitions and Challenges; Exploring the Future through Higher Education, and, Successful International Experiences in Education. Each of these subjects raises a number of important questions on the future of the education system in the UAE and its relation to new jobs, particularly in light of research that predicts robots and smart devices could soon replace humans in many roles.

Underpinning this year’s conference is the idea that jobs of the future will depend on modern professional abilities, as well as technical skills and knowledge. Any country able to cultivate and master these skills will have a distinct advantage in enhancing international competitiveness.


The 8th Annual Education Conference

Education is a top strategic priority on the UAE national agenda. The country’s wise leadership is developing and raising the standards of education by enhancing both its societal value and academic aspects. H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces (may God protect him), has realized that alongside academic education, the younger generation should also be guided to embrace good morals and values. To this end, His Highness has issued directives that moral education be taught as a subject in schools.

Moral education is an important part of any national value system. In recognition of this, the UAE has been pursuing this ideal ever since the country was founded by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God rest his soul in peace).

The UAE is known for its strong cultural identity and genuine moral values, which are derived from the legacy and teachings of the true tolerant Islam as well as the traditions of the country’s forefathers. Past generations were tolerant, respectful, altruistic, cooperative, and benevolent. They had a strong sense of national belonging and were willing to make sacrifices for their beloved homeland.

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) aims to support and help implement the visions and strategies set forth by the UAE’s wise leadership. To this end, the 8th Annual Education Conference, “Schools and Moral Education: Toward an Education System That Consolidates Values in Society,” will highlight the various dimensions of moral education, with the aim of establishing a unified view on how this initiative can be successfully applied in UAE schools.

The first panel, “The UAE Moral Education Initiative: Premises and Impacts,” will discuss the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (may God protect him) regarding the role of morality in the education system and how moral education can help promote the UAE as a soft power. The second panel, “Toward the Implementation of the Moral Education Initiative: Roles and Mechanisms,” will cover the various elements of the initiative and how it can be implemented by teachers, the media, families, and religious institutions. The third panel, “Moral Education in School Curricula: International Experiences,” will examine and compare the moral education experiences of other countries such as China, Japan, and Finland. And in the fourth panel, “Moral Education: Insights from the UAE Educational Sphere,” specialists will discuss the challenges in teaching moral education, the factors that determine its success, and the effectiveness of this initiative on parents and students.

Conference Program


The 7th Annual Education Conference

As part of the continued interest of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) in education as the main driver for development and the basis for progress of any society, and in line with UAE policy in giving top priority to education as part of its development plans, the ECSSR will present the 7th annual education conference entitled, “Education and Development: Investing in the Future.”

The conference will concentrate on various perspectives and aspects of the link between modern education based on innovation and creativity on one hand, and real comprehensive development on the other. It will tackle the development dimension in modern education, along with the role education plays in promoting the national economy in the post-oil era. It will also review the relevant efforts made by the UAE in this regard and how the country has become a regional hub for education.

In the same context, the conference will discuss investment opportunities available in this vital field, as well as challenges faced by education at the national level. It will also address the role played by UAE vocational education in development, with an emphasis on certain relevant successful experiments. In addition, the conference will explore education’s role in building national human resources, fostering innovation and advancing scientific research systems. It will examine educational output and its relation to future development in the job market. The conference will adopt a comprehensive concept of development that not only includes its material aspects, but also covers other features such as values and culture. Furthermore, it will examine education’s role in enhancing national identity and other positive social values.

A distinguished panel of officials and experts in the education field will participate, contributing through their research and discussions to the development of the education sector in the UAE. These contributions will provide more innovative ideas and strengthen the vision that promotes education to serve the objectives of knowledge-based national development.




Sixth Annual Education Conference

Since its inception in 1994 the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) has organized numerous annual conferences, special symposia, workshops, seminars and lectures, in addition to the publication of prominent scientific and academic research that focuses upon developments in the energy sector, the economy, social and political issues, and other significant areas of research. Such efforts are designed to help foster a deeper understanding of some of the most significant global developments in each specific area of interest. In the context of the longstanding interest the ECSSR has shown towards education, and its capacity to serve as a catalyst for societal progress and development, and in accordance with United Arab Emirates policy in this regard – which has identified education as central component of its development plans – the 6th Annual Education Conference, “Education and Development: Towards a Modern Education System in the UAE,” will be held on October 27–28, 2015.

H.E. Eng. Hussain bin Ibraheem Al-Hammadi, Minister of Education, United Arab Emirates shall open proceedings with a keynote address. The conference will comprise of four distinct panels, the first of which, entitled “Initiatives and Strategies for the Development of Education in the UAE” shall be chaired by Dr. Nabil A. Ibrahim, Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University (ADU), United Arab Emirates. In this panel, Fatma Al-Marri, CEO of Dubai Schools Agency, Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), United Arab Emirates, will address the subject of “Education Strategy 2015–2021: Development Prospects.” Dr. Anita G. Welch, Associate Professor and Curriculum and Educational Technology Division Head, Emirates College for Advanced Education, United Arab Emirates, will present the findings of her research regarding an examination of “New Global Trends Linking Education with Development.” The final panelist is Dr. Nesrin Hamad, Academic Advisor to the Managing Director, Institute of Applied Technology, United Arab Emirates, who will focus on “Modern Educational Systems and the UAE.” The opening session shall conclude with an open discussion between panelists and audience members.

The second panel, “The Role of Academic Research in Supporting Educational Development in the UAE,” shall be chaired by Dr. Husam Sultan Al-Ulama, Director of the UAE’s National Research Foundation (NRF) at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR), UAE. In this panel, Dr. Mohammed Ebrahim Al-Mualla, Senior Vice President for Research and Development and Graduate Studies at Khalifa University (KUSTAR), will offer his personal insights into “The Realities and Constraints of Academic Research in the UAE.” The second panelist, Prof. Mohamed Albaili, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), will present the research he has conducted on “Enhancing the Global Competitiveness of Academic Research Institutions in the UAE.” The third panelist, Dr. Barbara Harold, Associate Dean of the College of Education at Zayed University, will discuss “The Role of the Private Sector in Supporting Research.” The second panel will conclude with an open discussion.

The second day of conference proceedings on October 28, 2015, will commence with the delivery of a keynote address by Dr. Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, United States. This will then be followed by the third conference panel, entitled “The Developmental Role of Vocational Education in the UAE”, which will be chaired by Dr. Addel Al-Ameri, Director of Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI). Members of the panel include Essa Al Mulla, Head of National Development at the Emirates National Development Program (ENDP), United Arab Emirates, who will present his research concerning “Constraints on Vocational Education in the UAE.” The second panelist is Prof. Dr. Willi Brand, Professor Emeritus, University of Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany, who will address “The Role of Vocational Education in Serving Development: The German Experience.” Dr. Kenneth Volk, Outreach Manager, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi, will then present his research findings on “The Role of Vocational Education in Serving Development: The UAE Experience.” The floor will then be opened up for discussion.

The fourth and final panel of the 6th Annual Education Conference will be chaired by H.E. Dr. Mona Al-Bahar, Head of the Education, Culture and Information Committee, Federal National Council, United Arab Emirates, who will present her thoughts on the role of education in promoting positive values in society. This special discussion panel will include: H.E. Dr. Ali bin Abdul Khaliq Al-Qarni, General Director, Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Major General Staff Pilot Rashad Al Sa’adi, Commandant of National Defense College, United Arab Emirates; and Dr. Mohammed Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Harbi, Department of Education, King Saud University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Panelists will discuss a number of topics, such as: the role of education in promoting national identity and the defense of the nation; the role of education in the dissemination of values of moderation, openness and inclusivity, coupled with the role of education in challenging flawed interpretations of religion and countering extremism and terrorism. Attention shall also be cast towards the way in which education can facilitate the deepening of national identity, the role of educational institutions in promoting the values of cohesion, interdependence and cooperation in the community, and the link between education, social responsibility and community service. An open discussion will then follow the initial special discussion panel proceedings.

H.E. Dr. Jamal Sanad Al-Suwaidi, Director General of the ECSSR, will then deliver the concluding remarks of the 6th Annual Education Conference.

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) hopes that the conference and the recommendations presented therein will contribute to the advancement of educational development in the UAE and the building of a conscious generation of people that possess a shared desire to help facilitate the process of development.

Program        Press Conference        Welcoming Remarks        Concluding Remarks


5th Annual Education Conference

In keeping with the ongoing efforts by the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) to support the UAE’s goal of developing education in line with the nation’s strategic vision, and in view of the important role played by teachers as the cornerstone of the education process, the ECSSR convened its fifth Annual Education Conference under the title: “Education and Educators: Creating a Culture of Excellence in the Classroom.” This reflected that a culture of excellence in education can only be achieved with the support of high-caliber teachers capable of raising the standards of instruction to a level that meets the country’s expectations and strategic objectives. These involve building a generation of students equipped with the required knowledge, skills and innovative ability to play a part in securing the future of the country, as well as to deal efficiently with rapid changes at the local, regional and international levels, and capitalize on available opportunities to advance the position of the UAE in the region and the world.

The ECSSR’s fifth Annual Education Conference tried to identify methods and mechanisms with which to develop and improve the performance of teachers across the UAE. It discussed current teacher training and qualification programs and the challenges they face, reviewing applicable lessons derived from leading international training models. The conference discussed the social, economic and cultural factors that discourage qualified graduates from seeking a career in education, and presented possible solutions based both on international experiences in this respect and the requirements of the local environment. The conference gave teachers an opportunity to share their experiences and present their views regarding the pre- and in-service training programs needed to develop their performance and help them keep pace with the latest developments in the field.

Program      Welcoming Remarks      Opening Remarks


The 4th Annual Education Conference

Under the patronage of H.H. General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and President of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), the ECSSR convened its Fourth Annual Education Conference under the title “The Future of Education in the UAE: Innovation and Knowledge Production,” on September 17-18, 2013 at its office complex in Abu Dhabi.

The objective of this conference was to support the UAE’s ongoing efforts to develop an effective and innovative education system that prepares its students and its educational institutions to contribute to the UAE’s growing knowledge economy and to compete with their peers internationally. This conference aimed to offer a clear and useful set of recommendations for future education policy; the international scholars invited to the conference offered the latest theoretical perspectives on educational reform, while experts from within the UAE aligned those theories with the practical realities of the country’s current education system.

Three panels of experts discussed the topics of innovation, knowledge production and internationalization. The conference began with a discussion of ways to foster innovation and creative thinking among the UAE’s students. A second panel examined the role of the education system in the knowledge economy. On the second day, experts discussed the internationalization of education in the UAE. A fourth and final panel offered students from UAE-based universities the opportunity to reflect on their education and its relation to their future plans.

Program     Welcoming Remarks     Closing Remarks

First Day Video


The 3rd Annual Education Conference

Under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and President of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), the ECSSR convened its Third Annual Education Conference under the title “Information Technology and the Future of Education in the United Arab Emirates,” on 2–3 October 2012 at its office complex in Abu Dhabi.

The Conference began with a presentation on the H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Initiative for Smart Learning, detailing its programs, curricula, and new teaching and assessment methods. It also provided a review of education in the UAE based on an examination of current education processes and quality in public schools. Other topics of discussion included distance education, e-learning for universities, and means to ensure that education is tailored toward satisfying UAE labor market requirements.

On the second day, the conference discussed state plans to develop digital infrastructure in order to meet the evolving requirements of modern education. It also explored future trends in educational information technologies and their possible applications in the UAE, a topic that formed the basis for the concluding discussion.


The 2nd Annual Education Conference

Under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and President of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), the ECSSR held its second Annual Education Conference, 'Essentials of School Education in the United Arab Emirates', on October 3–4, 2011, at the Center’s office complex in Abu Dhabi.

The conference proceedings focused initially on the respective roles of the state and society in the development of school education systems—the two key foundations upon which the educational process is based. Also, the role of teachers was discussed via an exploration of various issues related to skills development among those employed in the education sector.

On the second day, the conference discussed the academic and practical foundations for the further development of curricula that support and encourage student achievement, in addition to the issue of quality assurance in education and the role of international assessment organizations in improving national quality standards.

The conference concluded with a discussion of two case studies highlighting the Jordanian and South Korean approaches toward education development, both of which have attracted widespread acclaim for their success in reforming their education sectors and building knowledge-based societies.


1st Annual Education Conference