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Challenges to Curriculum Development in the UAE

Published on: December 2009​
Genre: Education​ Category: Policy Brief/ Policy Note​

As a result of increasing concerns about the employability and skills of the country’s youth, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has recently undertaken substantial efforts to reimagine and reform the national school curriculum. There are two new approaches currently being implemented on a trial basis in the country—a new standards-based curriculum in Abu Dhabi schools and a new English-medium curriculum in selected government schools, the Madares Al Ghad (Schools of Tomorrow), across the UAE. Local authorities hope that these new approaches will mark a landmark shift away from the tyranny of rote memorization toward a skills-based education that prepares students to live and work in the 21st century.

This brief examines the meaning of the term "curriculum," the history of curriculum development in the UAE, the role of various agencies and ministries in current initiatives, and the challenges and possibilities that lie ahead on the road of reform. It concludes with recommendations for policy makers on how to implement sustainable curriculum reform that will engage all stakeholders in the process.

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