Sheikh Nahyan moves on after 23 years but he will remain in charge of the country's three federal universities until further notice.
Tributes to Sheikh Nahyan's role in education
ABU DHABI // As he left his job as Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research yesterday - a job he has held for more than 20 years - Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak said he would continue to head the nation's three federal universities.
He said he would remain as chancellor of UAE University and the Higher Colleges of Technology, and as president of Zayed University until further notice.
As part of a Cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said that Sheikh Nahyan would move to head the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Social Development.
He has been Higher Education Minister since 1990, apart from a two-year spell as Education Minister from 2004-2006.
"We will continue to [work] for prosperity and well-being of the UAE," Sheikh Nahyan said. "I am honoured to take the new responsibility under the President's guidance and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid's."
He said the Ministry of Culture and Youth and Social Development was unlikely to see any big changes, but would work to advance.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak will leave his post as the Minister of Public Works to take on the higher-education role.
Prof Mohammed Baniyas, the provost of UAE University in Al Ain, welcomed the new minister, saying he felt very "optimistic".
He also paid tribute to the development and growth of education under Sheikh Nahyan's leadership.
He added that in the past two years, Sheikh Mohammed's leadership of the Cabinet had brought more structure to the universities over budgets, together with "accountability, data collection based on facts and writing strategic plans".
He added that Sheikh Nahyan "had a great grasp of the standards and he stood for ensuring those standards were applied".
"I'm very optimistic that the system will continue in a good manner," he said. "As provost of UAEU, I can say the good work of the university will continue."