UAE Ministry of Education recruits engineers to guide students

  • 27 October 2015

The Ministry of Education has recruited 27 engineers to guide students towards careers in science and technology.

Hussain Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, said nurses and retired teachers were also being hired to teach the new school curriculum, which emphasises science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem subjects) for grades 10, 11 and 12.

“We have 27 engineers in the Ministry of Education and the number is increasing,” said Mr Al Hammadi, at the Education and Development: Towards a Modern Education System conference on Tuesday.

“We need engineers, nurses, teachers – these three people need to interact with each other for the sake of the student and they should help each other to encourage the student to be more creative and innovative.”

Mr Al Hammadi said professionals were needed as role models and to offer vocational guidance.

“Last week, we launched a programme to encourage retirees to participate in the education system,” he said.

“They have skills and capabilities and can teach some specialisations and majors, and they have experience which they can share with students and the school community.”

Dr Anita Welch, associate professor at the Emirates College for Advanced Education, said bringing in experts to work with pupils had proved successful in the United States and elsewhere.

Engineers could teach children how to apply knowledge such as algebra and geometry in the workplace.

“Those sorts of partnerships are so important to show the students ‘how am I going to apply this distant knowledge, what does it really look like, who uses this?’,” she said.

“An engineer uses it every day. So, the pupils need to see that.”

The new public schools curriculum launched this year enables students to choose between general or advanced courses.

Mr Al Hammadi said he wanted to see 40 per cent of pupils selecting the advanced stream by 2021.

Last year, 78 per cent of high school graduates enrolled in the foundation year, a year-long course to build their English-language skills ahead of starting their degree programmes.

But the foundation year will end in 2018, Mr Al Hammadi said, and so one of the ministry targets for 2021 was to prepare all students for direct entry to university.

Dr Husam Al Ulama, director of the Ministry of Higher Education’s National Research Foundation, acknowledged that many pupils needed further tuition before entering university.

“The Minister of Education is coordinating with several universities; they are working on this so that after 2018 the students from high school will immediately go to their academic departments,” said Dr Al Ulama.

“There is still a gap between education and the higher education. We need to minimise the gap and I believe both institutions – the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education – are working on it.”