Emiratizing the education sector in the UAE: contextualization and challenges

John Raven (Sharjah Higher Colleges of Technology, University City, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues

ISSN: 1753-7983

Publication date: 31 May 2011



The purpose of this paper is to discuss issues and imbalances in the workforce in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that result from the nation's relatively recent emergence as a powerful economy in the world. A federal initiative entitled Emiratization is addressed that is intended to improve employment amongst the local Emirati population who, at present, make up a minority of the working population. The role that one federal tertiary education system, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), contributes to this process is discussed with specific implications and challenges for Emiratizing the education system.


The paper is based on secondary research concerning employment statistics and policy in the UAE and observations of HCT, specifically the BEd program within the colleges.


Three main challenges facing HCT in its attempt to train Emiratis for employment in the education sector in the UAE are discussed in the paper.

Practical implications

There are practical implications and suggestions discussed for improving the Emiratization of the teaching sector in the UAE. This sector is highlighted as a core area for the Emiratization initiative by the paper.


The UAE represents a unique cultural context, a blending of languages, religion, politics and ethics, with calls for rapid modernization of its government schools. This paper maps out the growing pains and so is of value to both educators and policy makers in similar settings.



Raven, J. (2011), "Emiratizing the education sector in the UAE: contextualization and challenges", Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 134-141. https://doi.org/10.1108/17537981111143864

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