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ERIC Number: EJ823966
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-0009-4056
One Corner at a Time: Collaborating for Educational Change in the UAE
Sowa, Patience A.; De La Vega, Esperanza
Childhood Education, v85 n2 p102 Win 2008
Education has been one of the highest priorities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since it became a country in 1971 under the leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan. In 1962, when oil production started in Abu Dhabi, the country had just 20 schools for less than 4,000 students, most of them boys. The discovery of oil became the catalyst for improving the educational system, with the aim of preparing the youth of the UAE to serve their country's future progress. By the early 1970s, many of the UAE development projects were financed with the revenues from oil production. The scope of these projects required many skilled and unskilled foreign workers. The steady influx of expatriates created a workforce of 35% non-Emirati Arabs and 47% non-Arab foreigners; Emiratis represent less than 20% of the workforce. This imbalance has led to the push toward so-called Emiratization, or increasing the number of Emiratis in the workforce. Education is a key element of a successful Emiratization strategy, particularly an increase in technical and English language training and work experience programs for Emiratis. However, this strategy will need to draw from public school graduates who have experienced a reformed curriculum. This highlights the need to prepare Emirati teachers to teach in schools, which will then graduate Emirati youth with strong academic backgrounds and proficient bilingual skills. In this article, the authors describe the collaborative partnership between the faculty and staff of Zayed University, a university for young Emirati women, and the Childhood Development Center (CDC), a school for 3- to 5-year-old kindergarten students, in Abu Dhabi and explore how one goes about collaborating to change a system that has deep roots in a traditional format of memorization, repetition, and classroom management based on physical punishment and fear.
Association for Childhood Education International. 17904 Georgia Avenue Suite 215, Olney, MD 20832. Tel: 800-423-3563; Tel: 301-570-2111; Fax: 301-570-2212; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi)