AI and beyond: UAE’s approach to innovation and technology in education
Dr Sheikh Ammar Al Mualla, Director of Educational Organizations and External Relations, Ministry of Education, gives insight into the UAE’s approach to innovation and technology, including a focus on artificial intelligence.
The UAE continues to be the most competitive country in the Arab World and 25th globally, according to the Global Competitiveness Index 2019 by the World Economic Forum.
During the recently held Bett London, the world’s largest educational technology event held in London from 22nd to 25th January 2020, the UAE showed its ambitious strategy to lead innovation and technology within the education sector.
The feedback from UK students was formidable. After investing more than £2 billion in our education sector in 2019, particularly across innovation and technology, we have witnessed a significant increase of interest from UK students to expand their career across the UAE.
It is no surprise that the UAE is one of the top prominent education hubs in the region, and thus, remains an attraction for investors, providers, and students.
With the ‘Study in UAE’ programme, an international
initiative of the UAE Ministry of Education to attract international students, we aim to promote the innovating strides of the UAE as a prime destination for international students to pursue their educational dreams in recognised institutions of higher learning across our Nation. The programme serves as a platform that aims to bring together the world’s greatest minds and talents and experience a global hub for innovation.
I am confident of seeing an upward trend across UK students, who continue to trust the UAE as one of the global academic hubs. They demonstrate a growing interest in taking advantage of what our universities have to offer, and it looks like this interest will continue to grow well into the future.
We will be glad to welcome more students from the UK in their peers’ footsteps. The UAE offers a modern lifestyle, along with world-class infrastructure and cultural diversity. We are ready to open the door, not only to a new and exciting culture but to inspiring and lucrative career prospects as well.
The Nation boasts of a multinational community that embraces safety, security, and wellbeing. The majority of the population speaks English, and the fact that many higher education programmes are taught in English provides another advantage for students from the UK.
AI in education
Education is a key pillar in the UAE Centennial 2071 and through our visionary leadership, the UAE has taken the lead in artificial intelligence (AI).
Many examples demonstrate this statement. The UAE has taken the global lead in the field of AI within the education sector. Last year, we established the first graduate-level, fully dedicated AI university called the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence.
It is also the first nation with a Minister dedicated to AI. This move demonstrates that AI is a strategic national priority because we recognise the value of disrupting technologies for the betterment of our society and our economy.
The results of this innovative thinking permeate across other sectors. Today, the UAE ranks first in the region in terms of enterprise adoption of AI applications with an annual growth rate of 33.5%.
We are also pioneering Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Series (AIR), a programme created to help students develop their AI knowledge and give them a head start for the new AI job market.
This culture of continuous innovation is embedded across the DNA of the UAE. It is key to tapping the limitless potential of innovation within the region.
The UAE Ministry of Education has introduced fourth industrial revolution (4IR) technologies, such as robotics and blockchain into its education system so students can have an opportunity to learn more about these pioneering technologies. February was the UAE Innovation Month, a time at which we aim to celebrate innovation across the nation similar to every year, various educational festivals are being implemented to focus on strengthening the country’s position as a global hub for innovation and this year.
Also, the UAE is building the first blockchain city. The country has invested a lot of time and effort into exploring blockchain technology and the way it can help the government and the private sector excel. Other technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality and mobile learning are helping drive engagement and gear students towards the kind of creative thinking needed for the future global economy. Beyond science, maths and engineering, youngsters will need to think outside the box, as well as possess effective interpersonal skills.
With so much technology and innovation, the UAE is an ideal place for ambitious and forward-looking students to study.
The focus of the UAE is firmly placed on innovation. As such, the country is taking the lead in becoming an incubator for technological innovation and entrepreneurship.
The UAE is home to some of the best universities in the world. It provides a unique portfolio of options for students to choose from: a large and diverse selection of accredited institutions and courses to benefit from unrivalled scholarship opportunities.
Our Study in UAE initiative provides a unique platform for students to access the many options for higher education in the UAE. It provides them with a strategic perspective of the many fields they can select to study in our Nation.
Our graduates are a testament to the added value of our higher education sector. They are pioneers in their fields, and proof that the UAE offers an exceptional career launchpad for all careers.
As you can see, the country is rapidly expanding in this field, and we are confident that we will witness more ground-breaking advancements in innovation and technology.
Our economy is dynamic and thriving. Presently, the UAE has a total of 78 educational institutions accredited by the commission for academic accreditation.
In addition to its government universities and the UK’s campuses, the UAE is home to some renowned international universities such as New York University, Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, and many others.
These world-leading universities have decided to set up in the UAE because we provide a stable and modern education sector. We continue to make the UAE an attractive education hub by launching more academic partnerships: we aim to create opportunities for all types of universities to thrive.
The latest official data also shows over 32,000 new businesses formed across the UAE in 2019, bringing in exciting new opportunities and roles for students looking to stay on in the UAE after graduating.
Families are also confident that their children will receive the best education. The UAE has established seven pillars for all Emirati Schools to follow, each focusing on a different aspect of mainstream educatio. By streamlining processes across all schools, the UAE has taken a 360-degree view, which puts technology at the heart of education. The seven pillars are:
A curriculum designed to create a comprehensive scientific mind-set in students, blending different sciences, critical analysis, discovery and practical experiences.
Activities including the Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Series (AIRseries). The AIRseries aims to promote interest and development in robotics and artificial intelligence and to raise the UAE’s presence globally in this field.
Learning streams including an Elite Track for distinguished students, in addition to the General and Advance Streams, and forward-thinking Technical Career Paths.
Each Emirati school classroom will be equipped with a high specification laser projector, to maximise learning opportunities.
Incorporating regular monitoring of students’ progress ensures they are supported on an individual level.
Training to support students in perfecting their strengths.
Evaluating students’ achievements by measuring the quality of learning experiences and developing a comprehensive evaluation framework to measure the quality of schools’ performance.
The UAE education system is constantly improving to surpass 21st-century requirements. It is appropriately positioned to provide a world-class education that is at the very forefront of technological innovation, preparing all students for the future.