Emirati students writing the exam at school in Abu Dhabi, the first day for Grade 12 examinations. Image Credit: Courtesy" ADEC

Abu Dhabi: Enrolment in kindergartens recorded an increase from 87.95 per cent in the academic year of 2014-2015 to 93.40 per cent in 2015-2016 for children aged 4 to 5, announced the UAE government.

According to the National Agenda Index for the education sector, which was revealed on Monday, high school graduation rates also increased from 86.16 per cent in 2013-2014 to 93.16 per cent in 2014-2015.

The index results report issued by the government pointed out that the National Agenda’s target is to double investment in the coming years to boost the number of children enrolling in kindergartens. It also aims to place Emirati students among the world’s best in knowledge assessment tests, reading skills, mathematics, science and Arabic language, in addition to increasing graduation rates in high schools and universities.

The National Agenda’s objectives include increasing the number of Emiratis holding Master’s degrees and doctorates as per the needs of scientific, technology and innovation policies.

According to national exams, the Arabic language index, which gauges the rate of Grade 9 students with high linguistic skills in public and private schools, witnessed an increase from 58.85 per cent in 2014 to 69.20 per cent in 2015.

In 2015, students with high reading skills stood at 67.2 per cent, while students with high reading skills was 71.1 per cent.

The average of grades in the Arabic language showed that female students scored higher than male students did. Male students scored an average of 666 in reading while females scored 707, and the average for female students’ grades in writing stood at 809 in comparison to 670 scored by male students.

The National Agenda focuses on the Arabic language and increasing the number of students who excel in it, an approach that complements the keenness of the UAE leadership to consolidate Arab identity and culture.

The UAE is also striving to cancel the foundation year in higher education institutions, and has so far succeeded in reducing enrolments in foundation programmes from 72 per cent in 2013 to 45.34 per cent in 2015.

The index’s results show that in 2014-2015, the number of female Emirati students who graduated from high school stood at 10,019, while 9,921 graduated high school. Results show that 16,212 students graduated from public schools, while 3,728 graduated from private schools.

These results reflect the UAE’s attention to high school education and its aspirations to boost the number of graduates on the vital high school level, which is necessary for successfully completing higher education.

A number of national indexes are also included under the prioritisation of education. These other indexes contribute to achieving a high calibre education system. The National Agenda focuses on UAE students attaining the highest ranks in international exams. The performance of students is assessed using assessments like the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).

The National Agenda for UAE Vision 2021 aims to increase the number of high calibre teachers and efficient administrations in schools by developing and implementing national standards for regulating and evaluating schools. This will ensure the quality of school administrations and the educational process, in addition to developing the necessary exams to gauge the teachers’ knowledge on modern teaching methods.