Cabinet retreat approves education initiatives


The UAE Federal Cabinet retreat has endorsed a number of initiatives and ideas on overhauling the education system and development of teacher, being a cornerstone of the educational system. 

Called for by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,  the Cabinet retreat started on Sunday at Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi to discuss creative ideas for developing the health and education sectors.  The cabinet extraordinary session has drawn overwhelming popular participation through 65,000 public feedback, ideas and suggestions received via social media platforms and the Prime Minister's website.

Representatives of teachers, students, guardians, school principals and administrators, educators and specialists were engaged in the first brainstorming session, which was dedicated to examining suggestions and ideas on education that classified into five broad categories.

The first category focuses on teachers in terms of efficiency, competency and adding advantage to the career itself. The second category looks into developing teaching methods, integrating technology and applying best standards in this field. The third category sheds light on enhancing the skills of students on par with their peers in developed countries. The fourth category examines means to improve ratios of students who complete high school, university and postgraduate studies. Finally, the fifth category looks at aligning education outcomes with present and future requirements of the different sectors of the economy. 

In his opening remarks, Sheikh Mohammed expressed his thanks to the UAE people and residents for their interaction with the call he made by making proposals for the development of the education and health sectors.

''The UAE will never cease - even one day - its quest for continuous development. If it had done, we could not have reached what we are today. The UAE competitiveness edge in all fields is inspired by new ideas, sustained development and innovation and this represents a firm principle in the government action,'' Sheikh Mohammed affirmed.

He also stressed the urgency of continuous development, coping with changes and changing of mechanisms.

Development of the health and education sectors, he went on to say, "is a lifelong process and it is also a critical process for for the future of our nation."

Sheikh Mohammed said he was optimistic at this cabinet retreat because the key partner in it is the UAE people and the ideas and feedbacks were diverse and exceptional.

The cabinet retreat, he added, would remain a main milestone towards the development of the health and education sectors.

He said that a group of initiatives would be approved during the ministerial retreat and ''we will launch more initiatives according to field studies.''

The government innovative laboratory commenced with the division of audience, ministers, specialists and other participants into five major groups. Each group discussed the development of sector as referred to earlier in the brainstorming proposals. The challenges in each sector were discussed.

Sheikh Mohammed participated in the discussions of each group. He enquired about certain points.

During the sessions, a set of video documents, including views from public on the challenges facing education and proposals to tackle them, were screened. After the groups' meetings, a unified meeting was held to review the initiatives and solutions.

The Vice President said at the end of the first day that the activity and keenness displayed by participants to reach applicable ideas was convenient.

A number of educational initiatives were announced and endorsed by the Cabinet during its retreat at Sir Bani Yas Island:

Launch of the teacher career progress and development system, and career advancement measures for teachers in order to make the profession attractive, encourage competition, excellence, and achieve job satisfaction for teachers.

Study to abolish the system of branching for the literary and science sections, and shifting to the educational system that combines compulsory and optional subjects for students in order to keep pace with the world's growing knowledge and rapid technological developments.

Launch of system to evaluate schools and publish detailed reports on the academic performance to increase competitiveness among the schools and assist the school administrations to specify areas they need improvement periodically.

A programme to attract distinguished graduates to teaching to ensure employment of talented cadres given importance of teacher in terms of education feedback.

A specialised training programme for teachers to improve their skills and keep pace with the latest teaching methods, as well as teaching subjects on culture, innovative and creative skills, arts, music and sports.

Cancellation of a preparatory year at universities through development of subjects at the secondary school level to match the university requirements.

A project to classify and evaluate public and private universities in the UAE as per unified standards. Periodic reports on the evaluation will be published periodically.

Creation of subjects to develop the leadership and life skills for students.

Endorsement of licensing system for teachers in accordance with the certified standards.

Evaluation of educational performance at public and private kindergartens, being the cornerstone of education system.

Provision of electronic platform on the curricula in form of video lessons to help in self-education and fight the private tuitions.

Setting of full system to detect talented students to develop them.

Launch of the academic guide system for students to help them choose future academic specialisation in a way that matches requirements of national economy. 

Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, thanked Sheikh Mohammed for his "UAE Brainstorming Initiative", noting that the way for selecting teachers nationwide should be reviewed through setting the best recruitment measure.

He referred to the directives of Sheikh Mohammed to emiratise the education, noting that a citizen is the focus of education development. He noted that the country that delivered great leaders in the calibre of late Sheikh Zayed, late Sheikh Rashid, Sheikh Khalifa, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and others, has a capacity to deliver excellent national cadres.

Sheikh Saif introduced a female student, Shama Khalid to present her ideas before the Cabinet.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, said, "A teacher constitutes a core for the educational future in the UAE, hence  the focus should be on the development of teacher.

Earlier Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Co-operation, said the UAE schools need the academic guide system and a system to help detect talented students.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance headed the group on teachers efficiency, while Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research headed a group on the completion of school stages.

Sheikh Mohammed supervised the groups by moving from one to another, discussing ideas and proposals with the audience.

Govt keen on public participation: Sheikh Saif

Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has asserted the importance and effectiveness of the modern methods that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is adopting in order to ensure public participation in the planning and development of the essential sectors that concern everyday life, like the educational and health sectors. This, he said, would help produce the best solutions, ideas, and suggestions that will improve the education and health sectors, which are two essential sectors for advancement and development in all countries.

"The government is continuously striving to achieve Emiratis' hopes and ambitions in a way that meet the outstanding level that the UAE has. This eminent level was the result of the wise leadership of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan," said Sheikh Saif in a statement on the sidelines of the ministerial retreat that started on Sunday on Sir Bani Yas Island.

Sheikh Saif presided over the teaching methods group at the Governmental Lab of Innovation at the ministerial retreat. He  pointed out the importance of the implementation of Emiratisation in the educational sector. The importance of this comes from the fact that the Emirati national is the cornerstone of the educational development process, and that he is the most fitting figure to implement the values that reflect his loyalty to the nation. Furthermore, the Emirati national is the most worthy character to pass on local cultural and traditional values to the younger generations. This is based on the qualifications and experiences that the Emirati youth have accumulated, as well as their excellence in various fields.

Mohammed plants first salt-tolerant mangrove tree on Sir Bani Yas Island

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday planted the first red mangrove tree on the Sir Bani Yas Island. A bird sanctuary as well as a wildlife reserve, the island is one of Abu Dhabi's largest islands on the Arabian Gulf.

Sheikh Mohammed planted the evergreen tree, which grows in saline, wet habitats, during his visit to the island to chair a two-day cabinet retreat to discuss suggestions for developing education and health sectors. He praised the idea of relocation of the tree on the island, considering the diverse species of flora on the Sir Bani Yas Island as an enduring national legacy and treasure left  by the founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and our role is to conserve and develop them for the  benefit of future generations.

Sheikh Mohammed was accompanied by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister,  and a number of ministers and senior officials.

As one of the largest natural islands in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas, thanks to decades of intensive conservation work and ecological investment, is today home to thousands of large free-roaming animals and several million trees and plants, breeding programmes for endangered species and numerous exciting tourism activities.

The island has a wide variety of resilient, desert tolerant plants that are able to withstand the harsh, arid environment like  Sider, Ghaf (Prosopis cineraria), Gum Arabic, Frankincense and Toothbrush Tree.

Mohammed issues decree to regulate Dubai's holiday homes market

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, has issued Decree No. 41 of 2013, concerning the regulation of the holiday homes market in the emirate of Dubai.

With the objective of contributing to the growth of the tourism industry by broadening the range of accommodations available to visitors, the decree dictates that Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) will be responsible for the granting of licenses to those parties who intend to rent out a furnished residential property on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, said the Government of Dubai Media Office said.

The decree dictates that DTCM will define the standards that must be met and procedures that must be followed to receive a license; accept license applications and approve or deny such applications; conduct inspections on the properties to ensure they meet the required standards; and create a database of all such licensed establishments in the emirate. Restrictions will be placed regarding in which areas of the emirate licenses will be granted and two new classification standards will be added to the existing hotel classification framework, with ‘holiday homes' being classified as either ‘standard' or ‘deluxe'.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director-General of DTCM, said, "The regulation of the renting of properties as holiday homes will have a considerable positive impact on two of Dubai's key industries - tourism and real estate.

"With regards to tourism, in order to achieve the target of welcoming 20 million annual visitors to Dubai by 2020, one priority is the supply of visitor accommodation and broadening the range of accommodations available is a major part of this. We are working with the private sector to bring more five star hotels to the emirate and in September of this year, DTCM announced a financial incentive for the development of new three and four star hotels. Now, under the directive of Sheikh Mohammed, the licensing of properties as holiday homes will add further accommodation options.

By including holiday homes as part of our hotel classification framework, we will ensure that visitors can book a private apartment, townhouse or villa with full confidence that the accommodation is of a quality standard, has the appropriate insurances, and is managed by a qualified party.

With regards to real estate, this decree provides a potential revenue stream for owners of a second or multiple properties: an alternative to renting out the property on an annual lease. By being part of the wider hotel classification Scheme, property owners will be able to benefit from the growth of visitor numbers over the coming years. Following the issuance of the Decree, DTCM will now commence preparations to activate the directives and establish the processes required.

The Hotel Classification Scheme was passed into law in May this year, with the objective of improving clarity and increasing the type and quality of hotel rooms and accommodation available across the emirate of Dubai and the services provided within the establishments. The scheme adopts a multi-layered framework to rate and categorise each hotel and hotel apartments establishment, with specifications on the requirements for different types and levels of guest accommodations.

Sheikh Mohammed attends National Day Endurance Race in Al Wathba
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Saturday attended the National Day endurance race held at Emirates International Endurance Village in Al Wathba.

The 120km race drew 164 riders, both men and women. The awards are worth Dh500,000.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince; Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Deputy Ruler and UAE Finance Minister;  Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Advisor; Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy National Security Advisor; Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, attended the race.

Rider Ali Yusuf Al Hamadi won the race finishing in 4:14:04 hours at speed rate of 28:33km/h, followed by rider Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmouk Al Maktoum, while Sheikh Hamad bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum came third.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, who is also Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, said the strong beginning of the race season heralds intense races, following good preparations of the stables for the season. He praised the standard of local horse coaches and riders who have proven their successes at the racecourses.


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