Abu Dhabi: Strict new procedures are being introduced to improve the academic, financial and curricular situation in UAE schools.
Dr Abdullah Al Amiri, adviser to the Minister of Education Dr Hanif Hassan, told Gulf News the Ministry of Education (MoE) was implementing several new measures to improve standards across the board.
The MoE has reshuffled some of its employees in an attempt to increase productivity and is also taking steps to address concerns over UAE national identity.
Al Amiri said: "Our biggest struggle has been our human resources. But now all of our new employees must go through a screening process before they are employed in the ministry.
"We have over 20 various initiatives which will be conducted inside and outside the school premises either solely by the MoE or jointly with other federal and national bodies.
"We definitely need to strengthen the younger generation's ties with their roots. We need to pass on the values of Islamic and Arabic heritage, which are based on moral values, and are very much the values of the founders of the country."
Al Amiri said he wasn't overly concerned about the influence of international schools across the UAE or the variety of different curriculums offered across the nation. "I don't see any issue with different curriculums as long as the education programme delivers the right outcome and prepares our students for both the labour market and higher studies.
"The UAE is at the heart of the global market and if we need our pupils to compete in it, we should prepare them."
Another problem facing the ministry is teachers, working in both private and public schools, as they have recently complained about their current salaries amid rising food and fuel prices.
Al Amiri said he understood the teachers' concerns but defended the Ministry's position.
"When we propose an increase in salary, we have to go through a long process. We have to make a recommendation and proposal to the cabinet. I know prices have risen lately and that teachers require a certain standard of living, but we have recently increased teachers' salaries by a good 70 per cent, yet we still receive complaints," he said.
Abu Dhabi has recently announced a Dh6,000 housing allowance to teachers working at public schools in the emirate.
Statistics of pupils at public and private school across the UAE:
- Free public education for all UAE citizens and 20 per cent quotas of expatriates in public schools for nominal fees
- Number of students has grown 23 times since 1971
- 280,000 students in 723 public schools
- 375,000 students in 460 private schools
- Total number of teachers and administrative staff in public schools exceeds 28,000