International Literacy Day celebrations highlight UAE’s focus on education


Student author Diaco Taaeb with GEMS CEO Dino Varkey and others on International Literacy Day
Image Credit: Provided

Abu Dhabi: Education is a key national priority in the United Arab Emirates, and since its inception the country has strived to ensure widespread literacy of its population by making education for children compulsory.

Five decades later, adult illiteracy in the UAE is less than 1%. Building on the UAE’s focus on knowledge, students and graduates are also supporting the country’s progress in the most advanced industries including space and nuclear power.

These milestones were highlighted by the country’s educational and official institutions on the occasion of International Literacy Day, which is celebrated on September 8 each year.

Compulsory education

The UAE introduced its first compulsory education law less than a year after its inception, with Federal Law No. 11 of 1972 on Compulsory Education requiring parents or legal guardians to send their children. have custody at school. In July 2021, the UAE Cabinet made it compulsory for Emirati children to start school at least at the age of six, and for them to stay in school until they have reached age 18, or completed grade 12 or its equivalent, as applicable. first.

Federal Law No. 3 of 2016, known as the Wadeema Law, further strengthened children’s right to education and instituted jail sentences or a fine of at least Dh 5,000 for offenders.

Right to education

“Every child has the right to education. In addition, the State ensures equal opportunities for all children in accordance with the laws in force. A person who is responsible for looking after a child is prohibited [from exposing] Phone [a] the child abandoned, homeless or neglected, or usually leaving such a [a] child without supervision or follow-up, or to give up guiding and directing such [a] child, or not minding their own business, or not registering such a [a] the child in an educational establishment, or leave him in a situation of non-schooling without reason during the period of compulsory education ”, specifies the law. These provisions were highlighted on social media yesterday ahead of International Literacy Day, by the UAE prosecution.

Human capital

“The wise leadership of the United Arab Emirates [recognises] the importance of investing in human capital. Investing in the improvement of educational services, a first step towards development, in particular [because] a country’s gross national product is directly associated with its education systems, the number of graduates and the quality of its educational services, ”said Dr Najwa Alhosani, Acting Dean of the College of Education at the University of WATER. The University of the United Arab Emirates is the oldest university in the country.

“The late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God grant his soul peace, insisted on the importance of offering the new generation, men and women, educational opportunities, insisting that the education of girls should be supported as much as that of boys. education. He believed in the influential role education plays in enlightening people and nations. The government of the United Arab Emirates has therefore made education its top priority and allocated huge budgets to take care of this vital sector, ”she added.

Dr Alhosani said the Compulsory Education Law of 1972 is one of the country’s most notable achievements in eradicating illiteracy and has led to the establishment of educational institutions across the country. .

Women’s education

Dr Alhosani also mentioned the important efforts of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, President of the General Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood and Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation, in education. and the empowerment of women.

“Shaikha Fatima has encouraged women to continue their education, providing them with everything they need to participate actively and equitably in community development, not to mention the launch of the UAE Women’s Literacy and Education Strategy Arab Emirates in 1975 and declaring 1988 the Year of Literacy for Women, ”she said.

Child author

Meanwhile, Dino Varkey, Managing Director of GEMS Education Group, the country’s largest private education provider, joined 11-year-old student author Diaco Taaeb on International Literacy Day to record a digital book for the free digital ebook platform, Kupepo.

The Little Bird audiobook – A Book for Toddlers, written by Taaeb, a 7th grade student at GEMS Metropole School-Motor City, will be uploaded to Kupepo.com and made available to underprivileged schoolchildren – initially in Africa, then in d ‘other parts of the world as the platform grows.

Taaeb wrote his book, Little Bird, during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown in the United Arab Emirates. He was inspired by his little brother who loved to be read to him, and when his family read all the books in the house, Taaeb decided to write his own book for his younger brother.

Kupepo.com itself is the digital branch of “Old Books for New Eyes,” an initiative designed by Khushi Gadhia, a 5th grade student at GEMS Jumeirah Primary School. Khushi came up with the idea of ​​collecting old books and donating them to schools in Kenya during a Ramadan school project.


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