Education in the UAE has been in a state of constant reform for the past 38 years and is still continuing to improve with 70 new initiatives currently underway, Mr Ali Mehad Al Suwaidi, Assistant Undersecretary, Ministry of Education informed a teacher’s conference in Sharjah on 29 April.
Mr Al Suwaidi was addressing the 7th annual Teacher Education Conference at Sharjah Women’s College. Higher Colleges of Technology education faculty teachers attended the conference with the theme of Practising Innovation in Education in UAE Schools.
“We are in a constant state of reform,” Mr Al Suwaidi said. “The Gulf area is facing continual change and this is especially in the financial sector. This expansion in the financial sector has in turn put pressure on the educational institutions to provide the necessary skills for employment.
“Education in the UAE is much more than simply the provision of knowledge, it is linked to the economic development which in turn is linked to providing skills for the workplace.”
He warned that with increasing numbers of school students, there is constant pressure to employ teachers from outside the UAE. There were now more than 23,000 teachers working in the UAE with less than seven per cent of them being males.
Plans were already in place to correct this imbalance and women teachers have been given increased roles in the education system. Women teachers can now teach from Grades 1 to Grade 5. Previously women were restricted to teaching only up to Grade 3.
Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology Director Dr Farid Ohan welcomed guests and participants to the conference. He stressed the value of education and the need for reform in a changing environment.
“Education conferences such as this goes a long way to improving what happens in the classrooms,” he said.
Amina Al Khamiri, an Education graduate from Sharjah Women’s College now teaching kindergarten in Sharjah, was announced as this year’s winner of the prestigious Melbourne University Medal of Excellence for academic achievements.
Already an innovative creator and publisher of early learning children’s books, Amina is currently working on a computer program to assist young learners.
She has created an education program for young students called ‘Let’s Play Under the Rainbow’ that has been highly commended. Amina has also prepared a number of illustrated short stories for young readers. She is hoping to get more involved with character and text development in between her many interests.