Abu Dhabi: The minister of education has urged students to strengthen their language skills.

Dr Hanif Hassan wants students to learn English and focus on Chinese, French and German as the UAE's relations with these countries expand.

Dr Hassan also said students should learn Arabic as "I believe that Arabic is the most important language for my daughters and sons in the UAE. You should take advantage of strengthening this language since the most beautiful writings and poetic works are in Arabic," he said.

He emphasised the fact that students should learn English as it is the most common language across the globe and as it is "the basis of [scientific] research and the Internet".

Speaking to students informally on Thursday, the minister advised them to constantly update themselves with information and communications skills to keep up with today's demanding and challenging workplace. He was speaking to students in the Ghars Programme inspired by "Zayed's Vision".

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The week-long Ghars Programme brings together 120 students from the UAE and other GCC states. The programme comprises seminars, workshops, talks and other activities that help them improve their career and extracurricular activities.

"Always aim to be the best," he said, noting that "Shaikh Zayed has provided facilities for you to reach a higher ground. He believed in you as I believe in you," he said. He stressed that Shaikh Zayed should be everyone's role model and that the story of his accomplishments will form part of curriculum in schools and universities.

"My first interaction with Shaikh Zayed was when I was 11 years old and I can clearly remember his words of encouragement and support. He told me to be responsible, follow my dreams and be loyal to the UAE. I am passing on this message to my dear children today," he said.

Ghars chairman and Emirati student Ebrahim Ali Al Hosany, 19, is in his final school year and says that through his three-year participation in Ghars his confidence and communication skills have been strengthened.

"I have met different ministers, influential officials and various students from whom I have learnt a lot," said Al Hosany.

Asmahan Al Wally, 18, Deputy Chairman, represents more than 30 women in Ghars. "This is my second Ghars programme. I love it because we listen to other student suggestions and convey the message to decision-makers who try their best to fulfil our needs. One of our requests last year is now being met in this year's Ghars programme, and that is to meet various ministries and have different leaders and government officials give us seminars and workshops to teach us how they reached their key positions," she said.