“We are confident in the role of the UAE’s ambitious youth, and we believe in their abilities to create the country’s present and future,” Abu Dhabi’s crown prince Sheikh Mohammed said at the Mohamed bin Zayed Majlis for Future Generations in October last year.
It’s in this context as the International Day of Education approaches on 24th January that an Abu Dhabi educator is highlighting that tolerance and skills will play a key role for the UAE’s youth.
“The issue we have with education at the moment is that we were all taught in a classroom by somebody who learned and passed on their wisdom to us,” explained Michael Wilson, head teacher of Cranleigh Abu Dhabi.
“This is the first generation where the importance of remembering information is less relevant because of the devices that support us. We have to challenge tests and exams that simply ask us to regurgitate facts.”
With education moving from a knowledge-based economy to a skills-based one, Michael believes that the UAE’s nationwide addition of moral education and tolerant attitude to other nationalities could serve students well for the future job market.
“This country is very tolerant to other nationalities, so we have this multiculturalism already here,” he noted. “We have kids from all different nationalities who learn from one another’s cultures as they grow up together.
“The skills needed in the marketplace [in the next two decades] will include complex problem solving, critical thinking, new media literacy, creativity and innovation,” he noted. “Many of those skills are ones you can’t learn in a classroom.
“The moral education programme is an important statement, as is putting computer and AI at the forefront of education. The key is that the leadership
in this country recognises their importance.”