Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, on Tuesday emphasised that education is the highest priority for the U.A.E. leadership which gives maximum care to this sector and its workers.
The minister made his remarks in a speech read out on his behalf by Undersecretary of Ministry of Education, Marwan Ahmed Al Sawaleh, at the opening of the two-day fifth Annual Education Conference, organised by Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) under the title "Education and Educators: Creating a Culture of Excellence in the Classroom." Al Hammadi noted that his ministry is keeping pace with the ongoing growth and prosperity of U.A.E. under the leadership of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the U.A.E. Armed Forces and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Education Council.
The minister cited a study published in 2013 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, which said there are far too few of good teachers today.
UNESCO warned that there is a huge need for well-trained and well-supported teachers, and called for the recruitment of millions of professionals, particularly in African and Arab States worst hit by the teacher shortage.
At the global level, some 5.24 million teachers need to be recruited in order to reach the goal of universal primary education by 2015 -- 1.58 million new recruits and 3.66 million to replace those leaving the profession. The challenge goes beyond numbers – more teachers must mean better quality learning, through appropriate training and support, according to the international organisation.
UNESCO's study also said 58 per cent of countries currently do not have enough teachers in classrooms to achieve universal primary education, with the problems particularly bad in Sub-Saharan Africa and Arab States where by 2030, some 4.7 million teachers and 1.9 million, respectively.
The organisation said the Arab states are also concerned by teacher shortages. By 2030, the region will face an explosion in its school-age population with 9.5 million additional students. Many countries in the region have increased recruitment over the last decade so as to meet this challenge and the situation should be stabilised by 2020. To achieve universal primary education, the region needs to create an additional 500,000 posts by 2030 and replace 1.4 million teachers who will have left the profession.
Minister Al Hammadi affirmed that U.A.E., in this regard, has succeeded in achieving the 38th place globally in terms of education and healthcare, the 13th place in terms of the quality of basic teaching.
The U.A.E. has been ranked the 12th most competitive nation globally, jumping seven places from the previous year, according to the latest report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The Global Competitiveness Report, produced by WEF, analyses 144 countries through a series of performance indicators that evaluates each country's ability to provide suitable infrastructure for investments and to provide welfare to its citizens.
The education minister also noted that U.A.E. University has been ranked among the best 400 universities, according to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings.