The UAE government has established a special council in order to try and match its higher education strategy for nationals with the needs of private sector organisations.

Announced during the government’s annual meetings in Abu Dhabi last week, the Private Sector Council forms part of the newly launched National Strategy for Higher Education 2030, as put forward by the Ministry of Education, and will “regulate the manpower needs of UAE businesses”.

The new higher education strategy seeks to build and achieve the highest scientific and professional education standards in order to serve the region’s future generations, providing nationals with the necessary technical and practical skills needed to drive the economy in both the private and public sectors, said the government.

"Education is a national priority for the leadership in the UAE, and has evolved through many stages over the last several years,” said minister of education Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi.

"Developing an innovative education system and enhancing students’ skills are at the core of our strategy; we seek to engage the private sector in this process, and to continuously adapt our system, through research and studies, to develop curricula that will contribute to the UAE’s competitiveness globally."

The four main pillars of the strategy are: quality, efficiency, innovation and harmonisation, with 33 key initiatives identified in order to support the implementation phase. These include a national quality framework, an expanded professional experience initiative – a variety of career training programmes for students such as on-campus work, job shadowing, joint ventures and vocational training – and a competitive research funding initiative, which will create a platform for research in vital sectors and stimulate the collaboration between higher education institutions and the private sector.

At the government meeting on the future of education in the UAE, attendees – including vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, minister of education; and Dr Ahmad Belhoul AlFalasi, minister of state for higher education – stressed the dedication of the UAE’s leadership to establishing “a superior educational system”.

They said it would be focused on “technology and innovative educational models that will empower future generations with the skills to deal with upcoming challenges, and to build a bright future for the UAE”.

“We seek to empower many more generations with education, a strong economy and a plan for the future that is the most advanced in the world,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

A total of 120 new federal and local government initiatives were introduced across 30 sectors, including education, in response to national goals and challenges faced by the UAE, over the course of the annual meetings.

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