Abu Dhabi: There are currently 20,000 Emirati graduates, and a labour market that has more than four million job opportunities, UAE Minister of Education, Humaid Al Qutami said yesterday.

The minister was speaking on the second day of the Education and the Requirements of the GCC labour market conference.

"If we want to bridge the gap between the number of graduates each year and the available jobs in the UAE market, we need to invest more in education and encourage people to learn more about social requirements," said the education minister.

Even though the labour market in the UAE has doubled and the country's economic growth has increased, Al Qutami said there still needs to be gradual coordination among educational institutes, and educational stakeholders who should work equally on data gathering and in introducing research and study centres such as the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR).

In addition, there needs to be strategic medium- and long-term plans for education to bear fruit in the UAE, said the minister.

"We need to focus on areas such as the development of the UAE curricula, specifically in public schools, and keep a close watch on the performance of teaching staff. We need to employ teachers who can be role models for students and who are well aware of the labour market requirements in order to help guide students," Al Qutami said.