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One of the key learnings of the Covid-19 crisis is the way societies with an advanced education system were able to beat the pandemic with the least losses compared to others who struggled in the face of the outbreak.

Humanity’s ability to develop efficient vaccines is the result of decades of emphasis on education in some of the societies that resulted in the development of Covid-19 remedies. The UAE learnt that lesson years ago, well before the pandemic struck. However, the recent circumstances have given additional motives to upgrade and restructure the national education system.

The landmark move was announced by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai on Sunday, with the aim of streamlining the way our youth study and excel, starting from the early age. As part of the new plan, a number of authorities have been set up or restructured to support this national goal, including the appointment of three new ministers — Ahmad Belhoul for Education, Sarah Al Amiri for Public Education and Advanced Technology, and Sara Al Musallam for Early Education. In addition, the structured system will include the Education and Human Resources Council, Federal Authority for Quality of Education, Federal Authority for Early Childhood Education, Emirates Schools Establishment which will all work in collaboration with the local education councils.

Advances in future technologies

Parts of the system have been developed in the past decade and showed solid results that made the UAE a regional leader in the education sectors. The vast advances in future technologies and initiatives, particularly the space programme, artificial intelligence projects and government accelerators, are all significant outcomes of the nation’s special emphasis on education and advance sciences.

On Sunday, the Vice-President paid a special tribute to the importance of early education. With Al Musallam at its helm, the new Federal Authority for Early Childhood Education will be developing and implementing plans “to follow up development from birth to the fourth grade” — to develop policies, strategies, legislations and programmes related to the education needs of the early childhood stage under the supervision of the cabinet.

It will be responsible for licensing and monitoring public and private nurseries in coordination with the relevant local authorities; and working closely with parents to strengthen their knowledge and role in the education of their children.

In today’s world, nations’ development and strength are measured by the quality of education. And no country can achieve such quality unless the process begins with early childhood. This is the stuff successful nations are made of.