Dubai. File picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Istock

The addition of 14,671 new seats through 10 diverse new schools in Dubai in the 2021-22 academic year is great news not only for the UAE’s education sector, but also for strengthening the foundations of the knowledge economy on which the country thrives.

The announcement by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) not only provides parents with more educational choices, but also forms a significant part of the commitment to delivering high-quality education and efforts to further consolidate Dubai’s growth as a global education destination, even amid a pandemic.

From being located in a wide variety of neighbourhoods such as Tilal Al Ghaf, Al Warqa, Al Karama, Al Barsha, City Walk, Mirdif and Nad Al Sheba, to offering an equally diverse range of curricula – such as Australian, UK, US and IB — the new schools reflect strong demand from parents for top-quality innovative education offerings in the city.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on every possible sector around the world, and education has been no exception. Indeed, the critical vitality of uninterrupted learning became apparent almost immediately when Covid-19 emerged last year, and the ensuing months of online and blended learning have had a dramatic impact on the education landscape. The inception of the new schools in Dubai is therefore clearly with an eye on the future — offering students the skills, the curricula and the platforms necessary in enabling sustainable value in education.

Dubai and the UAE were on the frontline of smooth transition from classroom to online and blended learning when the pandemic struck last year. According to OECD data, the UAE is globally well poised to lead the education sector post-pandemic — the availability of online learning support platforms nationwide is already at 70 per cent, while the availability of teacher resources on digital tools has crossed 87 per cent — higher than the US, Sweden, Austria, and Italy.

However, while rolling out the new schools, it is important to remember that quality and affordable education have typically been the top criteria for parents in choosing schools in the UAE – and those factors assume even greater significance in a post-pandemic era. Every new educational institution — and even the existing ones — must keep this in mind when launching their offerings in the new academic year.

As Dubai stands on the threshold of an exciting decade ahead, the depth and diversity of its education sector is yet another reassurance of its future-readiness. The new school openings successfully demonstrate that the march of progress in Dubai and the UAE is resilient to the pandemic or any external situations — and will continue unabated.