United Arab Emirates

From POERUP - Policies for OER Uptake
Revision as of 11:21, 18 February 2014 by Pbacsich (Talk | contribs) (References)

Jump to: navigation, search

(This entry on UAE incorporate the Re.ViCa/VISCED page on UAE.)

Original Re.ViCa entry circa 2008 by Paul Bacsich; updated to VISCED level by Nikos Zygouritsas; recent updates by Paul Bacsich

The report on Open Educational Resources in UAE, by Charlie Watt - which updates and expands the report below - is at Media:OER_in_UAE_edited.pdf

See also United Arab Emirates Recommended Universities for E-learning

Partners situated in United Arab Emirates


United Arab Emirates in a nutshell

(sourced from Wikipedia)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) (Arabic: دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة, transliteration: Dawlat Al-Imārāt al-‘Arabīyah al-Muttaḥidah) is a Middle Eastern federation of seven states situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Southwest Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman and Saudi Arabia. The seven states, termed emirates, are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain.

It has a population of 9,206,000,000 and its capital is Abu Dhabi.

The UAE, rich in oil and natural gas, has become highly prosperous after gaining foreign direct investment funding in the 1970s. The country has a relatively high Human Development Index for the Asian continent, ranking 39th globally, and having the 5th highest GDP per capita in the world according to the CIA.

Before 1971, the UAE were known as the Trucial States or Trucial Oman, in reference to a nineteenth-century truce between Britain and several Arab Sheikhs.

The United Arab Emirates is situated in Southwest Asia, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia; it is in a strategic location along southern approaches to the Strait of Hormuz, a vital transit point for world crude oil. The UAE lies between 22°50′ and 26° north latitude and between 51° and 56°25′ east longitude. It shares a 530-kilometer border with Saudi Arabia on the west, south, and southeast, and a 450-kilometer border with Oman on the southeast and northeast. The land border with Qatar in the Khawr al Udayd area is a source of ongoing dispute.

The total area of the UAE is approximately 77,700 square kilometers. The country's exact size is unknown because of disputed claims to several islands in the Persian Gulf, because of the lack of precise information on the size of many of these islands, and because most of its land boundaries, especially with Saudi Arabia, remain undemarcated. The largest emirate, Abu Dhabi, accounts for 87 percent of the UAE's total area (67,340 square kilometers). The smallest emirate, Ajman, encompasses only 259 square kilometers.

The United Arab Emirates is a federation which consists of seven emirates. The largest emirate is Abu Dhabi which contains the nation's capital city Abu Dhabi. Five emirates have one or more "exclaves", in addition to the main territory. The seven emirates are:

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Ajman: 1 exclave
  • Dubai: 1 exclave
  • Fujairah: 2 exclaves
  • Ras al-Khaimah: 1 exclave
  • Sharjah: 3 exclaves
  • Umm al-Quwain

There are two areas under joint control. One is jointly controlled by Oman and Ajman, the other by Fujairah and Sharjah.

There is an Omani enclave surrounded by UAE territory, known as Wadi Madha. It is located halfway between the Musandam peninsula and the rest of Oman, on the Dubai-Hatta road in the Emirate of Sharjah. It covers approximately 75 square kilometres (29 sq mi) and the boundary was settled in 1589. The north-east corner of Madha is closest to the Khor Fakkan-Fujairah road, barely 10 metres (33 ft) away. Within the enclave is a UAE exclave called Nahwa, also belonging to the Emirate of Sharjah. It is about 8 kilometres (5 mi) on a dirt track west of the town of New Madha. It consists of about forty houses with its own clinic and telephone exchange.

The Presidency and Premiership of the United Arab Emirates is de facto hereditary to the Al Nahyan clan of Abu Dhabi and the Al Maktoum clan of Dubai. The Supreme Council, consisting of the rulers of the seven emirates, also elects the Council of Ministers, while an appointed forty-member Federal National Council, drawn from all the emirates, reviews proposed laws. There is a federal court system; all emirates except Ras al-Khaimah have joined the federal system; all emirates have both secular and Islamic law for civil, criminal, and high courts. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was the union's president from the nation's founding until his death on November 2, 2004. The Federal Supreme Council elected his son, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president the next day. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is the heir apparent.

The UAE population has an unusual sex distribution consisting of more than twice as many males as females. The 15-65 age group has a male(s)/female sex ratio of 2.743. UAE's gender imbalance is the highest among any nation in the world followed by Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.

UAE has one of the most diverse populations in the Middle East. 19% of the population is Emirati, and 23% is other Arabs and Iranians. An estimated 73.9 percent of the population is comprised of non-citizens, one of the world's highest percentages of foreign-born in any nation. In addition, since the mid-1980s, people from all across South Asia have settled in the UAE. The high living standards and economic opportunities in the UAE are better than almost anywhere else in the Middle East and South Asia. This makes the nation an attractive destination for Indians, Filipinos, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis along with a few thousand Sri Lankans. In 2006, there were approximately 2.15 million Indian nationals, Philippines Nationals—OFW, Bangladeshi nationals, and Pakistani nationals in the UAE, making them the largest expatriate community in the oil-rich nation. Persons from over twenty Arab nationalities, including thousands of Palestinians who came as either political refugees or migrant workers, also live in the United Arab Emirates. There is also a sizable number of Emiratis from other Arab League nations who have come before the formation of the Emirates such as Egyptians, Somalis, Sudanese and other Gulf Arab states, who have adopted the native culture and customs. Further, Somali immigration also continued in the 1990s as a result of the Somali civil war.

There are also residents from other parts of the Middle East, the Baluchistan region of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, Africa, Europe, Post-Soviet states, and North America.

The UAE has attracted a small number of very affluent expatriates (Americans, British, Canadians, Japanese and Australians) from developed countries. Recent migrants from India are also quite affluent. They are attracted to a very warm climate, scenic views (beaches, golf courses, man-made islands and lucrative housing tracts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai), the nation's comparably low cost of living (but in 2006, thousands of real estate properties are valued over millions of dollars) and tax-free incentives for their business or residency in the UAE. They make up under 5 percent of the UAE population; mainly English-speaking. Expatriates abide by the law and are required to respect the customs of the UAE.

The most populated city is Dubai, with approximately 1.6 million people. Other major cities include Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Sharjah, and Fujairah. About 88% of the population of the United Arab Emirates is urban.[10] The remaining inhabitants live in tiny towns scattered throughout the country or in one of the many desert oilfield camps in the nation.

Nearly all citizens are Muslims, approximately 85 percent of whom are Sunni and the remaining 15 percent are Shi'a. According to official ministry documents, 76 percent of the total population is Muslim, 9 percent is Christian, and 15 percent is other. Other unnofficial sources claim that 15 percent is Hindu, 5 percent is Buddhist, and the remaining 5 percent is other (mainly including Parsi, Bahá'í, and Sikh).

Dubai is the only emirate of the UAE with both a Hindu temple and a Sikh Gurdwara. Christian churches are also present in the country. There are a variety of Asian-influenced schools, restaurants and cultural centers.

For further general information see Wikipedia:United Arab Emirates.

United Arab Emirates education policy

Provision of quality education in the United Arab Emirates began shortly after the establishment of the federation with the inception of the first university in Al Ayn, Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates University. Since then, the country has progressed with efforts of ensuring high literacy rates, modern programs and women’s share in education. The UAE currently devotes approximately 25 percent of total federal government spending to education. The overall literacy rate is 91%. The government has set a goal of achieving full literacy before 2010.

The education system up to the secondary level is monitored by the Ministry of Education. It consists of primary schools, middle schools and secondary schools. The public schools are government-funded and the curriculum is created to match the United Arab Emirates development's goals and values. The medium of instruction in the public school is Arabic with emphasis on English as a second language.

There are also many private schools which are internationally accredited.

Public schools in the country are free for citizens of the UAE, while the fees for private schools vary.

The higher education system is monitored by the Ministry of Higher Education. The Ministry also is responsible for admitting students to its undergraduate institutions,

The UAE has shown a strong recent interest in improving education and research. Recent enterprises include the establishment of the CERT Research Centers and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

For a general description of education in United Arab Emirates see Education:United Arab Emirates.

Schools in United Arab Emirates

Public education is free for male and female citizen children through the university level. Beginning in the academic year 2006–7, expatriate students may, for a fee, attend government schools. The UAE has one of the lowest pupil-to-teacher ratios (15:1) in the world. Education is compulsory through the ninth grade, although, according to the U.S. Department of State, this requirement is not enforced. Citizen children are required to attend gender-segregated schools through the sixth grade, the last grade of primary education. Primary school enrollment for males in 2006 stood at 85% and 82% of females. 97% of entrants reached the 5th grade. Secondary school enrollment figures remained lower at 62% for males although higher for females at 66%. In 2004–5 approximately 9.9 percent of students in grades one through five and 8.3 percent of students in grades six through nine did not complete their education; this rate rose to 9.3 percent in grades 10–12. According to the CIA World Factbook, total literacy under 15 years in 2003 reached 77.9% Between the ages of 15-24, males reached 98% literacy and women 96%.

The current educational structure involves a four-tier system covering 14 years of education.

  • Kindergarten – for children of 4 to 5 years of age
  • Primary – for age group 6 to 12years. Length of the programme is 6years
  • Preparatory – for age group 12 to 15 years for three-year duration
  • Secondary – for age levels 15 to 18 years of age, a three-year programme. At the end of this term, a Secondary School Leaving Certificate or diploma is awarded.
  • Technical Secondary School – for ages 12 to 18, with a six year duration programme. A certificate or Technical Secondary Diploma is awarded.

In 2005, the United Nations Programme on Governance in the Arab Region rated the UAE a .79 on its Education Index. The Programme defines the Index as, “One of the three indices on which the human development index is build. It is based on the adult literacy rate and the combined gross enrolment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary schools. Regionally, the countries scoring higher included the Occupied Palestinian Territories at .89; Libya, Lebanon and Kuwait at .87; Jordan and Bahrain at .86; and Saudi Arabia at .80. All of the countries ranked in the index reported a significantly higher number of phones per population than internet users, with the UAE claiming one hundred twenty eight versus twenty-nine. Internationally, the country with the highest rating was Australia with a .99 while Burkina Faso stood lowest at .27.

Despite not being among the highest rated on the Education Index, the UAE has made regionally significant achievements in ensuring women’s access to education. UNDP’s Millennium Development Goal No. 3, to “Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women” has reached its targeted levels of female participation in primary education and continues to increase.

Development programme

The Ministry of Education has adopted “Education 2020” a series of five-year plans designed to introduce advanced education techniques, improve innovative skills, and focus more on the self-learning abilities of students. As part of this program, an enhanced curriculum for mathematics and integrated science was introduced at first-grade level for the 2003–4 academic year in all government schools. Recognizing a constant need for progress, the UAE has sought to implement and monitor high quality education standards by undertaking new policies, programs and initiatives. Throughout the Middle East, educational advancement is often impeded by insufficient focus on the English language, inadequate provision of technology as well as modern techniques of instruction and methodology. Stressing the importance of “modern curricula with assorted and non-monotonous means of training and evaluation”, the Emirates launched ambitious campaigns to develop each of these areas. At its foundation, lies the necessary funding, which in 2009 was earmarked at 7.4 billion dirhams ($2 billion), as well as increased teacher training. Through its Teachers of the 21st Century and a two hundred million dirham share of this budget, the UAE hopes to train 10,000 public school teachers within the next five years, while also pursuing its scheduled goal of reaching 90% Emiratisation of its staff by 2020.

In addition, the UAE government believes that a poor grasp of English is one of the main employment barriers for UAE nationals; as a first remedial step, the Abu Dhabi Education Council is developing an elementary school pilot program with Zayed University, which it hopes to extend to all schools in the emirate, to enhance student English language skills. In February 2006, the prime minister directed the education minister to take initial steps toward improving the quality of education, including the provision of permanent classrooms, computer laboratories, and modern facilities. In April 2007, however, in a major policy speech to the nation, the UAE vice president and prime minister stated that despite the steady increase in the education budget over the previous 20 years, teaching methods and curricula were obsolete, and the education system as a whole was weak. He demanded that the ministers of education and higher education work to find innovative and comprehensive solutions.

In early 2008, the UAE’s Ministry of Education launched a Mentoring Programme which assigns Western principals to 50 of 735 public schools across the UAE in an effort to modernize instructional strategies and implement Western methods of learning. Participating instructors emphasize necessity of deviating from the traditional methods of passive memorization and rote learning instead of encouraging active student participation.

Further and Higher education

At the higher education level, numerous institutions are available to the student body. In 1976, UAE University (UAEU) was established in Al Ayn in Abu Dhabi. Consisting of nine colleges, it is considered by the UAE government to be the leading teaching and research institution in the country. More than 14,000 students were enrolled at UAEU in the first semester of the academic year 2006–7. In 1988 the first four Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) were opened. In the academic year 2005–6, 12 campuses offered more than 75 programs, with a combined enrollment of 15,000 men and women. The commercial arm of the HCT, the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training, is allied with multinational companies to provide training courses and professional development. In 1998 Zayed University was opened for women with campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. A new US$100.7 million campus in Dubai opened in 2006.

While the American University in Dubai opened its doors in 1995 to join the successful ranks of its much older regional counterparts in Cairo and Beirut, more recently, several international universities enjoying a presence in the Emirates include Tufts University and George Mason University in Ras Al Khaimah; Michigan State University and Rochester Institute of Technology in Dubai. New York University (NYU) is set to open alongside the Sorbonne in Abu Dhabi in the fall of 2010. After a distinguished seven hundred year history, in 2006 the UAE became home to Sorbonne’s first campus abroad. Although its focus is largely on the arts and humanities, Emirati students attending international universities locally, commonly concentrate on business, science, engineering and computers programs. For the first time in the UAE the first medical school Gulf Medical University was set to open in 1998 for both genders of all nationalities. Formerly known as Gulf Medical College. In 2008 it expanded its campus and programs to include dentistry, pharmacy and other programs in association with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Gulf Medical University is based in the Emirate of Ajman.

In 2003 Dubai established a dedicated education zone, Dubai Knowledge Village, based at Dubai Internet City. The 1 km long campus brings together globally recognized international universities, training centers, e-learning, and research and development companies in one location. As of early 2007, it had attracted 16 international university partners, which include Saint-Petersburg State, University of Engineering and Economics, University of Wollongong, Mahatma Gandhi University, and the Manchester Business School.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scienific Research is the government ministry concerned with higher education. The Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA), a department in the Ministry, licenses instititions and accredits degree programmes.

The five largest centres of higher education are:

  1. United Arab Emirates University
  2. Zayed University for women
  3. Gulf Medical College
  4. University of Sharjah
  5. Higher Colleges of Technology.

There are also many other private universities and colleges in the country, including

  1. American University of Sharjah
  2. Institute of Management Technology Dubai
  3. S.P Jain Center of Management in Dubai
  4. Al Ain University of Science and Technology
  5. American University of Dubai
  6. Abu Dhabi University
  7. Ras Al Khamiah University for medical and health sciences.

Other universities based in foreign countries have established campuses in the United Arab Emirates. For instance, there is a Paris-Sorbonne campus in Abu Dhabi.

A full list of universities and colleges can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_universities_in_the_United_Arab_Emirates

Universities in United Arab Emirates

Some details of specific institutions follow.

In 1976 UAE University (UAEU) was established in Al Ayn in Abu Dhabi. Consisting of nine colleges, it is considered by the UAE government to be the leading teaching and research institution in the country. More than 14,000 students were enrolled at UAEU in the first semester of the academic year 2006–7.

In 1998 Zayed University was opened for women with campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. A new US$100.7 million campus in Dubai opened in 2006.

Polytechnics in United Arab Emirates

In 1988 the first four Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) were opened. In the academic year 2005–6, 12 campuses offered more than 75 programs, with a combined enrollment of 15,000 men and women. The commercial arm of the HCT, the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training, is allied with multinational companies to provide training courses and professional development.

Colleges in United Arab Emirates

Dubai Knowledge Village

In 2003 Dubai established a dedicated education zone, Dubai Knowledge Village, based at Dubai Internet City, to bring together globally recognized international universities, training centers, e-learning, and research and development companies in one location. As of early 2007, it had attracted 16 international university partners. In October 2006, France’s Sorbonne opened a campus in Abu Dhabi.

Education reform




Administration and finance




Quality assurance




Information society

Internet in United Arab Emirates

Educational internets in United Arab Emirates

Copyright law in United Arab Emirates

ICT in education initiatives in United Arab Emirates

Virtual initiatives in schools

Education 2020

Education 2020 is focussed mainly at schools.

OER initiatives in schools

Virtual initiatives in post-secondary education

Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University


Recommended Universities for E-learning, from outside UAE

The Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research has released a list of "recommended universities for e-learning" - in other words, approved universities for distant learning (distance learning) This is now available on an interactive page at http://www.mohesr.gov.ae/En/E-Services/Pages/Electronic_Recommended_Institute.aspx but the main entries are also now available on United Arab Emirates Recommended Universities for E-learning

OER initiatives in post-secondary education

Dubai International Academic City

Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) is the world’s only Free Zone dedicated to Higher Education. Established in 2007 as part of TECOM Investments, DIAC aims to develop the region’s talent pool and establish the UAE as a knowledge-based economy. DIAC is the premier destination for Higher Education in the region, located on a fully-appointed 18 million sq ft. campus with state-of-the-art modern facilities. DIAC currently has 28 Academic institutions from 11 different countries. The DIAC campus is host to over 18,000 students from more than 100 nationalities. DIAC students also have access to over 300 Higher Education programmes.

Lessons learnt


> Countries

>> Main Page