Centrality of Education in UAE Development Planning

  • 24 September 2009

Since the formation of the UAE Federation, education has been given significant importance, and the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan held the firm belief that education is the pathway to advancement. The President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has affirmed the strong belief in the importance of education and its principal role in the progress and development of nations. In this context, the remarks made by the Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Education Council  to Al-Ittihad newspaper on Wednesday on the proposed budget for development of education projects in Abu Dhabi, estimated to be at AED 7 billion, explicitly revealed the extent of concern that education has in the leadership’s developmental thinking and the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the pre-eminent position it occupies in their development priorities, in addition to the pioneering role played by the Abu Dhabi Council for Education in this regard, under the chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.  This massive interest in education, whether at the level of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, or at the level of the United Arab Emirates, reflects a combination of the outstanding features of the UAE philosophy of development which has led the country to its current status of prosperity and progress at all levels. The first among these is the belief that education is the foundation of progress and development, as no nation in history has progressed in the fields of culture and development without having education at its core.

The UAE’s leadership also firmly believes in the importance of human resources, which is its most important and vital element for development, and is therefore given all attention and the topmost priority.  Education represents a major factor in this regard. Hence large budgetary allocations have been made to develop and upgrade schools, programs and universities. The third is that education is the means for maximizing the UAE’s contribution to the labor market, and to achieve strategic objectives of Emiratization which involves important dimensions that is linked closely to the national security requirements of the UAE in its widest possible definition. Within this context comes the point to link education with the needs of the labor market to achieve great benefits. The fourth factor is that the UAE and interest of its wise leadership in education comes within the framework of its interest in knowledge and its concern for disseminating and interacting with international institutes of knowledge that represent one of the deficiencies of development in the Arab world, according to international agencies’ reports, spearheaded by the ‘Human Development Report,’ that is published annually by the United Nations Development Program. The fifth factor is that the UAE leadership recognizes that to maintain the achieved leading stand, both at the regional or international level in the field of progress and development, could only be met through possession of an advanced educational system that satisfies the latest international standards.