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24 January 2024

Statement by Her Excellency Sheikha Khulood Al Qassimi, Assistant Undersecretary of Inspection Sector at the Ministry of Education

International Day of Education

On the celebration of the International Day of Education, which falls on 24 January of each year, we take the opportunity to highlight the UAE’s efforts in advancing the education systems forward, while achieving a balance between academic performance, and the development of students' life skills. These efforts reflect the UAE’s firm commitment to provide outstanding educational opportunities for all citizens and residents alike in fulfillment of the UAE’s commitment to achieve Goal 4 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The UAE believes in the critical and fundamental role of education in the development of societies and the industry of the future, we also recognize education's positive role building peace and allowing civilizations to flourish.

At the international level, education is a human right which is recognized and protected by several international instruments to which the UAE is a party. These instruments articulate the importance of education as a fundamental human right and outline the obligations of states to ensure its realization. For example, Article 26(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares: "Everyone has the right to education” and serves as a foundational document that influenced subsequent international human rights treaties, such as the Convention of the Rights of Children, which specifically addresses it in article 28, the right to education for children and emphasizes the importance of free and compulsory primary education being available to all. In the UAE, education is a constitutional requirement and constitutes one of the top priorities on the leadership’s agenda.

The wise leadership of the UAE recognized this right with the inception of the nation and spares no effort to strengthen its endeavours of advancing the State's education level, placing it on the global competitiveness map, and enhancing international cooperation with regard to education, specifically in light of the world's competitiveness in innovation and future skills. Such efforts are reflected in the UAE's investment policies to develop infrastructure and technology in educational institutions towards building virtual and digital educational platforms, highlighting the UAE as a global success story in uninterrupted education as was the case during the pandemic.

With a view of keeping up with its pioneering role on the global stage, the UAE has implemented several national initiatives that reflect its determination to build a knowledgeable and educated society. It has worked to diversify curricula and courses widely to meet students' needs and promote the values of innovation, critical thinking and problem-solving. The UAE also provides 18 curricula, to respond to the students’ needs to develop their skills through a flexible educational system that takes into consideration the cultural and ethnic diversity, which characterizes the UAE society.

In line with practical endeavours aimed at caring for students and providing a safe learning environment, the Ministry of Education's Inspection Sector has been established to implement all measures to protect children in educational institutions and guarantee their fundamental rights to an inclusive and quality education.  This includes empowering inspection teams to deal immediately with cases of children abuse, neglect, violence, as well as any harm or denial of their right to education, and to ensure that children have access to quality education and welfare in a safe and secure learning environment.

In commemorating this Day, we should also not forget that more than 250 million children and youth are out of school, the majority of whom are girls. This what prompted the UAE government to submit in 2015 a resolution before the Human Rights Council in Geneva on the right to education to every girl, to ensure that no one can be deprived from this right. The resolution is still on the human rights Council agenda and is periodically reviewed and enriched by the UN member states.

Education is a fundamental pillar of keeping our societies forward and developed. Education for all reflects our commitment to building a more just and sustainable world. Therefore, I call upon us to take inspiration from today's observance of the importance of strengthening global cooperation to enhance the value of education as a tool for positive change and to encourage innovation and creativity in education. Investing in education is an investment in our shared future and is our gateway to giving opportunities for future generations to lead the way.