Dubai: The Ministry of Education on Thursday launched the general rules for special education programmes under the theme ‘School for All' under the patronage of Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, wife of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The standards were launched in the presence of Mariam Al Roumi, Minister of Social Affairs.

Minister of Education Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami said the sets of criteria represent the main framework for dealing with students with special needs and disabilities and talented students.

The initiative will cover services and medical screening programmes for these categories, the roles of schools, teachers and specialists, the examinations system and educational considerations for each group.

According to the minister, the basics have been chalked out by teams of experts and professionals from the ministry and universities after they reviewed practices and experiments of a number of countries in the education of students with special needs.

"These standards will go on trial in ten schools,'' he announced.

In 2006, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a federal law on the rights of persons with disabilities and ratified the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The minister explained that Shaikh Mohammad focused on education in Vision 2021, where all Emiratis will have equal opportunity and access to first-rate education that allows them to develop into well-rounded individuals, enhance their educational attainment, and achieve their true potential, contributing positively to society.

The vision wants the nation's schools to nurture well-rounded citizens, confident in their inner abilities and fully equipped for adulthood.

Education will provide equality of opportunity and balanced outcomes for all students.

Special needs students will be properly integrated within the education system with the benefit of support programmes and infrastructure that guarantee fair access.

"The ‘School for All' [project] is what the UAE community aspires for and where all our sons and daughters learn in it... it will be the choice of every guardian... it is the school that will help special needs students and talent students achieve what they dream of and provide them with all their needs and requirements," he said.

"It is the school that will deliver [the] best services to [the] special needs students,'' he said.

The launch of these principles, he indicated, set the motion for implementing the School for All project in public and private schools.

"By developing these standards, we turn a new leaf in terms of delivering best practices to special needs students and outstanding and talented students," he said.