Abu Dhabi: Their faces gleaming with joy, 150 of the UAE’s brightest minds collected their certificates and gifts at a glittering award ceremony in Abu Dhabi on Monday.
Hailing from across the UAE, they were the top scorers in the UAE Ministry of Education (MoE) curriculum and Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) Grade 12 exams in the 2016-2017 academic year.
The ceremony was held at the Emirates Palace Hotel, in the presence of Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister for Culture and Knowledge Development, Dr Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister for Education, Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Director General at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), and a host of education officials.
Students were cheered on by family members, after which invitees attended an iftar dinner.
This year, a total of 30,856 students took the MoE and Adec Grade 12 exams. According to statistics revealed earlier this month, more than 90 per cent of the students who sat for the advanced Grade 12 exams achieved passing grades, while nearly 70 per cent of students who sat for the general Grade 12 exam passed.
Today’s awardees had all achieved 98 per cent or more marks in the exams, and got the highest scores in each educational zone in the UAE. One student with special needs who got more than 95 per cent marks was also honoured.
Along with their certificates, each student was given a financial award granted by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Speaking to Gulf News, Ayesha Ali, an Emirati student from Al Ain, said she had never expected to do so well in the exam.
“I have always tried to excel in my studies, but I am delighted to be among the top achievers,” she said.
Ali hopes to become a neurosurgeon, and will soon enrol at the United Arab Emirates University. “My two older siblings are already doctors, and I want to continue the tradition,” she said, adding that her two younger siblings also had a love for medicine.
For Abdul Rahman Al Harbi, 18, another Emirati, his high grades are simply a stepping stone towards fulfilling his dreams.
“I want to study electrical engineering and through my knowledge and expertise, will serve my country,” he said.
Rawdah Ayman Al Attar was the highest scorer in the emirate of Abu Dhabi with 99.8 per cent marks. The 18-year-old from Egypt said she hopes to become a doctor.
“Both my parents are teachers, and have always inspired me to do well in studies. My grades are a testament to their efforts, and to the advanced resources and teaching at Abu Dhabi’s state schools,” she said.
For Dunia Ihab, the news of her getting grades were like an Eid gift for her. “When I found my name among the top achievers’ list on social media, I was so happy to make my parents proud,” said the 18-year-old Egyptian who lives in Fujairah. Like many of her high-scoring peers, Ihab said that she wants to become an engineer.