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United Arab Emirates Education and Training



The large revenues from oil exports have enabled extensive investment in education. Teacher density in the country is among the highest in the world. The majority of teachers are foreigners. But the government's goal is to increase the proportion of domestic teachers to 90 percent.

All tuition at all levels, including university education for the thousands of students studying abroad, is free of charge for citizens, as are books, school uniforms, food and school transfers. Parents are even paid to send the children to school. School duty is valid for nine years from the age of six. Subsequently, three years of voluntary studies follow at the corresponding upper secondary level. Despite the many benefits, not all students complete their undergraduate education.

  • Allcitypopulation: Offers a list of biggest cities in the state of United Arab Emirates, including the capital city which hosts major colleges and universities.
  • COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of United Arab Emirates, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.

Large resources have been invested in the 2010s to improve teaching in the school and to develop digital learning, among other things, all students would have their own tablet for 2017 and a comprehensive homework help program in various subjects would be posted on Youtube. More than a third of the country's schools are run privately. Private schools can follow curricula from other countries and conduct education in other languages, but must also teach Arabic.

Among the students completing upper secondary education, 95 percent of girls and 80 percent of boys continue on to higher education. Education is gender-segregated within the state education at all levels except preschools, while private schools are open to both genders.

The country gained its first university in 1977 in the oasis city of al-Ayn, Abu Dhabi. Ten years later, two state universities, dedicated exclusively to women, were opened. In addition, there are technical educational institutes and a large number of private colleges. French Sorbonne opened a branch in Abu Dhabi in 2006 as well as American New York University.

More than three-quarters of the students in the country are women and almost the same proportion of the country's women continue to study at higher stages after high school. The families choose to have their sons more than daughters study abroad to a greater extent.

United Arab Emirates Top Colleges and Universities


Proportion of children starting primary school

94.6 percent (2016)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

25 (2016)

Reading and writing skills

90.0 percent (2005)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

5.0 percent (1997)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

5.0 percent (1997)



Hunger strike in prison

Amnersty International reports that 18 of the people sentenced to prison in July for planning an Islamic takeover of power are now starving. Six of them began the hunger strike shortly after the verdict fell.


More arrested

Three more people are arrested on suspicion of belonging to the Islamist group al-Islah.


Twitter posts give prison

A man has been arrested and sentenced, according to the organization Reporters Without Borders, to two years in prison for tweeting about the mass trial that began in March.


Mass trial against suspected Islamists

A lawsuit is initiated against 94 people accused of planning to overthrow the emir and instead set up an Islamic regime based on Islamic law, Sharia. Among the defendants are two well-known human rights lawyers, judges, teachers and students. Many of them belong to the Islamist group al-Islah. According to the government, they must have formed a secret cell with close ties to the religious and political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is based in Egypt and is banned in much of the region. International human rights organizations criticize the trial. In July, 69 of the defendants are sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.



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