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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

UN Human Development report: UAE schools should encourage 'creation and innovation' over curriculums 

The report also found the number of private schools and higher education institutions has increased 

The relative number of public schools is declining when compared to sharply rising numbers of private schools in the UAE, the Human Development 2018 report found.  Victor Besa / The National
The relative number of public schools is declining when compared to sharply rising numbers of private schools in the UAE, the Human Development 2018 report found.  Victor Besa / The National

Schools and teachers in the UAE are being encouraged not to stick to curriculums and to create a flexible environment where pupils can innovate, according to the latest UAE Human Development Report.

The human development report found that it is important to integrate content of international tests in reading, mathematics and science.

“Compliance with the criteria in teaching, learning, and evaluation will create a restrictive environment for teachers and students,” according to the report, which recommends that educators support “creation and innovation and encouraging it in teaching in all subjects and at all levels”.

The report recommends the “provision of guidance programmes for pupils and parents in the required disciplines”, and asks for the provision of scholarships to outstanding students in the disciplines that are of most significance to the UAE.

Educators are being asked to train pupils in scientific research with a special focus on printing, 3D design, robots, data science and the internet of things. The report also recommends helping researchers through providing material or assistance they may need.

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More from UAE Human Development Report:

More working women but unemployment rate among Emiratis has risen since 1975, report reveals

Life in the UAE among the best in the world, according to the latest human development report

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According to the Human Development Report 2016, the UAE education index in HDI is 0.687. This puts it among countries with medium human development in education. In the UAE, literacy rates have increased from 54 per cent in 1975 to 93 per cent in 2015.

The report looks back at the history of education in the UAE to draw a comprehensive picture of the status of education in the country now.

Literacy rates, teacher-student ratios, performance levels of schools, technical education, scientific research and higher education are areas that were considered.

The number of public schools is declining all over the UAE, except in Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, the report found.

“This decline in school numbers was very evident in Abu Dhabi due to the integration of schools and the cancellation of some schools in the UAE since 2011-2012 ... and the increasing turnout of private schools,” the report revealed.

The report showed that “in 1971-1972, the number of schools in the UAE was 74, and the number of students was 3,175 ... in 2016-2017, the number of schools had reached 659”. The number of private schools in the UAE was 31 in 1976-1977; that figure rose to 567 schools in 2016-2017, an almost 18-fold increase.

A PWC report revealed that by 2020-2021, 175,000 class seats will be needed in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and 90 per cent of these seats will be in private schools, of which 74,500 will be in Dubai.

The UAE has 19 pupils per teacher whereas Kuwait has only nine pupils per teacher.

The total number of universities, colleges and institutes in the state reached 81 in 2011, which increased to 94 in 2015.

The report found that the educational challenges most affecting the desired levels of human development at present include weak analytical and applied skills of students in reading, mathematics and science.