Saif Al Deen Hatem, who developed sight problems that left him unable to read since Grade 3, was one of the 12 top performers in Abu Dhabi.
Student with visual impairment among top scorers in UAE ministry exams
ABU DHABI // Girls outperformed boys, science triumphed over the arts, and pupils in the Western Region beat their city counterparts in the secondary school Ministry of Education curriculum exams.
Twelve pupils from Abu Dhabi were among the top performers, according to Abu Dhabi Education Council, which used the announcement of the results to highlight its plan to scrap the foundation years taken by some pupils before university enrolment.
Grade 12 pupils across Abu Dhabi scored a collective grade point average of 80 per cent - 82 per cent for girls and 78 per cent for boys.
Science students, averaging 85 per cent, outperformed their counterparts in the arts, who averaged 78 per cent.
Western Region pupils were top in the emirate with 84 per cent, followed by those in Al Ain at 80 per cent. Pupils in Abu Dhabi city scored an average 79 per cent.
Across the country, 37,011 sat the exams this year - 9,377 of them in Abu Dhabi. Of the pupils in Abu Dhabi, about 67 per cent were arts students.
Aya Mohammed, 18, from Jordan, achieved 99.8 per cent in science, placing her second in the UAE and first in Abu Dhabi.
"Many people think distinguished students stay at home all the time studying but that is not true," she said. "It is all about organising your time and the mental ability of learning."
Sixty-two Abu Dhabi pupils scored more than 99 per cent, while another 680 students scored above 95 per cent.
The education council used the results to state its intent to eliminate the foundation year taken by some students before university enrolment.
Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, director general of the council, said they were working closely with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education on a federal project that would eliminate the need for foundation years.
"We are in the final stages of this soon-to-be-unveiled project which aims to eliminate the need of foundation years by our students," Dr Al Khaili said.
Saif Al Deen Hatem, 17, a Jordanian who now lives in the capital, was "overjoyed when I found I was among the top performers".
Saif, the youngest of seven children, scored 99.63 per cent in science.
He achieved his remarkable score despite sight problems he developed in Grade 3 that left him unable to read.
"Do not give up easily," he said. "This is the message I want to give people with disabilities. We can overcome it."
Because of his poor sight, Saif's mother, Najah Najeb, a supervisor with the education council, read him lessons.
"She would do anything for me. I can never repay her for what she did," he said. "Her support was my motivation to succeed. I just could not let her down."
Mrs Najeb stood proudly beside her son with tears in her eyes after he got his results yesterday.
"I expected him to do even better because he is a very intelligent boy," she said. "I really wish him happiness and success in life."