ABU DHABI // Literacy rates in the capital are among the highest in the Arab world according to figures released yesterday.
The number of illiterate citizens in the emirate of Abu Dhabi dropped to only 6 per cent in the 2010/2011 academic year - compared to an average of 27.3 per cent across the Arab world, taken in 2009.
The emirate's rate of 6 per cent is less than half the 12.08 per cent recorded in 2000 and far below the 75.12 per cent recorded in 1971, the year of the UAE's federation and the subsequent creation of the Ministry of Education and Youth.
Female citizens were slightly more likely to be illiterate than their male counterparts - at 8.7 per cent compared to 3.5 per cent, however, across students of all nationalities this difference levelled out, at 7.4 per cent compared to 7.6 per cent.
The Government says the figures, released by the Statistics Centre - Abu Dhabi (SCAD), are testament to its efforts to provide high quality educational infrastructure, especially given the significant increases in the number of pupils and students enrolled in schools and universities across the emirate.
There are 306,497 pupils in the capital’s 480 schools – 299 of which are run by the government and 181 of which are private. The number of pupils per teacher was 13.8 and the number of pupils per classroom was 22.7.
It highlighted in particular the dramatic improvements in female education, which first started in the emirate in the academic year 1963/1964, when total female enrolment did not exceed 131 pupils. In 2011, there were more than 150,000 females enrolled in the emirate's academic establishments, nearly equalling the number of males with a ration of 96 per cent. In government schools there were even more females than males, with almost 110 females to every 100 males.
The figures show a larger number of males in private schools, but a larger number of females in government schools. At the secondary stage of education there are 116 females to every 100 males in either private or government education, but only 86 females to every 100 males in private education.
Dropout rates were also highlighted in the figures, with females more likely to progress. In 2007/2008 the dropout rate in all grades of the primary level of government education was 0.7 per cent - 1 per cent for males and 0.4 per cent for females.
Dropping out becomes slightly more likely as education progresses, with the rate increasing to 1.3 per cent in the middle level of education and to 4.1 per cent in the secondary education stage. This increase in the dropout rate held true for both citizens and non-citizens, and was the same in all regions of the emirate.
The figures also highlighted trends in higher education and adult education. The emirate of Abu Dhabi is home to nine universities - two government and seven private - and 16 other institutions of higher education - three government and 13 private. In the academic year 2010/2011, these accounted for 44,397 students, 75 per cent of whom were citizens.
Adult education accounted for 15,242 pupils, 10,517 of whom were citizens.