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Volume :12 Issue : 45 1986      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

THE DEVELOPMENT OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: 1905-1971

Auther : By: Dr. Mahmoud Ajjawi

This paper deals with the development of education in the UAE from the year 1905, when the first school in this century was opened, up to 1971 when the seven Emirates were united.

Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to trace the historical development of education in the UAE, in relation with the socio-economic factors, which affected the educational system.

For the sake of explanation, this study is divided into two periods: the first covers the years 1905–1953 and is called Al-Matawah; the second covers the years 1953-1971, and marks the beginning of modern education which came as a result of the support of the State of Kuwait and later other Arab states.

During the first period, education was strictly religious with the purpose of informing students about their religion through the Holy Quran. This period was called Al-Matawah (The word Al-Matawah is used to refer to the teacher and to the educational system as well). Schools were financed by the rich Pearl-merchants. Life style was simple, economic means were almost primitive and education was not intended to prepare the citizens for civil jobs.

The second period, 1953–1971 was distinguished by the support of the Arab states to the educational system in the Emirates. This support came mainly from the State of Kuwait, which sent teachers, built schools and financed the whole system especially in the Northern Emirates. Other support came from Qatar, Egypt, Bahrain and Jordan. The last two states concentrated on assisting the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

It was during this period that modern education in the Emirates began its first steps. The curriculum was that of Kuwait, educational levels were established following the Kuwaiti system and new subjects were introduced to the curriculum namely: English, Mathematics, Science, Geography and History.

As a result of the Arab support and cooperation, more and more schools were founded and the number of students (both males and females) increased. Briefly speaking, the foundations of modern education, in all its facets, in the UAE were laid. This modern educational system which began in 1953 kept on advancing until the year 1971 when the seven Emirates were united and thus a new era began.

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