OPN Emirates Driving Institute1-1558183089023
Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

The decision by the Emirates Driving Institute (EDI) to set up centres in India, offering driving lessons to workers seeking employment in the UAE, will have far-reaching advantages for Indians — particularly because India is not on the UAE’s list of exempted countries whose citizens can directly exchange their driving licences for UAE driving permits.

The collaboration between EDI, along with the Youth Chamber of Commerce (YCC), UAE, and India’s National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), to set up driving centres along migratory areas in India will render invaluable initiation to millions of Indian workers who arrive in the UAE and for whom a driving licence is key to enhancing their job prospects.

For thousands in this segment, the matter of obtaining a UAE driving permit is a particularly interlocked issue. First, there is the cost. Depending on how many lessons the learner requires, and the number of tests he or she has to take, it can range from a minimum of Dh4,500-Dh7,000 to an open-ended sum — a factor that plays a large role in determining how many of them decide to stay the course.

Then, there is the psychology of the experience, which is driven by a complex blend of anxiety, fear and hope as the hopefuls strive to detach from their native idioms of driving and adjust to the norms in the UAE. There is also the bracket of Indian expatriates who have never been behind the wheel in India and for whom the first learning experience in the UAE can be daunting. For all these groups, a head-start to getting acquainted with what they are expected to learn in the UAE will be a great money and time saver as they will arrive here in a state of preparedness.

The new collaboration has an impressively wide arc of objectives: Training the trainers for their stints in India, educating Indian learners on UAE’s cultural sensitivities and aiding by them in the acquisition of soft skills such as speaking English, that are a higher stepping stone to improved job prospects.

As one of the top countries in the world providing migrant workers, India has a significant number of its people living in the UAE: 3.3 million in 2017, as compared to 0.3 million in 2000, according to the United Nations International Migration Report 2017. This new initiative is set to mark itself as a new chapter in UAE-India partnership.