UAE education chief reveals $2bn strategy

10,000 new teachers to be trained, revamp to school curriculum in bid to raise standards.

The UAE government has earmarked 7.4 billion dirhams ($2 billion) for education in 2009 as it strives to raise standards, said Dr Hanif Hassan, minister of education.

And the Teachers of the 21st Century strategy which aims to train 10,000 public school teachers in five years, will be eligible for a 40 million dirham share of the budget.

"We are working on creating a team of dedicated educators with good work ethics and are committed to make a difference and eager to improve," Hassan told UAE daily Gulf News on Monday.

The Education Ministry has sent 100 UAE school principals to various countries to gain first-hand knowledge and experience about internationally accredited teaching methods, he added.

All public schools across the UAE will be accredited, he said, and 10 schools in the northern emirates will be involved in a pilot project in January 2009.

"We started off with a pilot study for ten of these schools and are following a comprehensive procedure that will help improve the infrastructure, sports facilities and the qualifications of teachers and principals in each of the schools," he told the paper.

Islamic studies, Social studies and Arabic Language were among subjects that offered big scope for improvement in the selected schools, he said.

The Abu Dhabi Education Council has also come up with a revised curriculum for subjects like mathematics, science and English for each of the ten schools during the new academic year.

He said: "It is the ministry's duty to provide public schools with as much assistance as possible and I will not be satisfied until I see our students entering both national and international universities without having to fall back on remedial programmes; education is the right investment and, as challenging as it is, the road to improvement is exciting."

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