UAE Pursues Excellence in Education to Empower Youth – Nahyan

  • 18 September 2013

The UAE saves no effort to prepare citizens for a knowledge-based society and digital economy with programmes designed to empower every young Emirati to become a responsible, self-directed, lifelong learner, a top official told a regional conference on the future of education in the UAE yesterday.

“We give thanks to Allah that here in the UAE we enjoy the fruits of the movement of renaissance and complete development which has been led wisely in all parts of the country by our father His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, may God protect him. We are all in agreement that a successful society, in this era of knowledge, technology and innovation, is one that is founded upon committed citizens, capable of analysis and discovery, creativity and initiative.” said Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.

The leadership of the UAE gives the utmost attention to promote investment in human capital, empowerment of youth and the development of cognitive and cultural potential of the Emirati people in all fields, especially in the education , Shaikh Nahyan added while speaking at the annual education conference organised in Abu Dhabi by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research under the theme “The Future of Education in the UAE: Innovation and Knowledge Production”.

Dr Jamal Sanad Al Suwaidi, director general of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, echoed the same sentiments and said the main goal and envisaged objective of the huge expenditure ensured by the state budget annually, is to access the knowledge society through innovation, creativity and knowledge production.

Dr Al Suwaidi said it was necessary to develop plans towards the transition to a competitive knowledge economy, led by qualified citizens and forge ahead with the UAE strategic vision 2021. This requires disseminating a culture of objective academic research and thinking, starting from the family, school and university, to individuals in general, and the social, economic, security and services institutions of the UAE to ensure shortened effort, cost and reduced time in accelerating the pace of sutainable development processes.

“The UAE’s advanced ranking in the human development and global competitiveness report in 2011 and 2012 is a practical, realistic evidence on the success Emiratis have made. However, our ambition is to become one of the top five countries of the world,” he added.

Dr Abdullah Al Shaiba, head of specialist training at the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, said recently there has been increasing attention by the UAE government on preparing Emirati graduates to meet the growing and changing needs of the local labour market.

He cited the relatively high unemployment rate among Emiratis of 13 per cent and the small numbers of citizens in the private sector as reasons for such attention.

The fourth annual Education Conference focused on key issues of educational innovation — addressing how the nation can cultivate innovation and creative thinking in its students; knowledge production – initialising discussions on how to nurture confident students and research institutes to create new knowledge rather than consuming learning and ideas; and finally internationalisation – where academics will delve into balancing the preservation of national culture with the need to create internationally competitive institutions and graduates. This will be done through a series of expert panels, student seminars and critical debate.