x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Society: A commitment to raise national standards

Education is the most important element of the country's development, Sheikh Mohammed said.

Education is the most important element of the country's development, and the Government is committed to raising standards, Sheikh Mohammed said. Human capital is "the real asset" for nations, and the UAE will not accept anything short of the best education available. "We build our future with the hands and minds of our budding generations," he said. "We are determined to upgrade education in our country to meet the best international standards."

Sheikh Mohammed said he was optimistic about reaching the goals of the education development plan within "the shortest possible time" but that the development of the education system was "not a process that can happen overnight". He said the decentralisation of educational management to the emirate level had helped progress and that educational councils, which have been in operation for two years, had made "significant achievements".

The Prime Minister said education was a priority for him when it came to raising his own children. "They have to study extremely well, and have an open mind, along with tolerance towards others' cultures and experiences," he said in response to a question from an Emirati mother of three on the values that should be taught to children. Sheikh Mohammed said it was also the family's responsibility to instil a respect of the law in children, especially in respect to one of the UAE's major social problems: reckless driving and the high death toll on the UAE's roads.

"The responsibility of stopping reckless drivers is shared between the family and the police," he said. "Parents should monitor their children's performance at school and implant in them the habit of respecting the law. "The traffic departments within the Ministry of Interior and in different cities look after the traffic issues well, and they are doing their best. They keep toughening penalties on violators, but you cannot put a police patrol in every single street in the country."

He said authorities were doing their best to curb fatalities and that penalties would be tough. The UAE has one of the world's highest death rates on the roads. lmorris@thenational.ae