New collaborative effort to prepare Emirati youth for higher education studies in the US launches

DUBAI, 14th June, 2021 – The Ministry of Education (MoE) has launched the Universities Readiness Programme (UURP), a university-geared upskilling programme developed as part of a new multi-stakeholder collaboration with the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE), AMIDEAST and the US Mission to the UAE.

The programme will develop the skills of 105 Emirati 11th-grade high school students and 33 counsellors from nearly 47 schools across the UAE to navigate the admissions process of higher education institutions in the US.

The 15-month-long programme, which is currently underway and being delivered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seeks to improve acceptance and enrollment opportunities for Emirati students applying to colleges and universities across the US.

As part of the collaboration, the students will take part in an interactive, engaging after-school enrichment programme. It will focus on fostering their English-language competencies and developing the communication, problem-solving and critical thinking skills needed to achieve the required scores on standardised exams required for US university admission.

Guiding students through the US university admissions system, the programme will help develop students’ knowledge of US educational opportunities, support them to navigate the application process, and equip them with the necessary skills for test preparation. In addition to assistance with university application submissions, financial aid application support will also be provided.

Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary of the MoE’s Care and Capacity Building Sector, affirmed that the Ministry is keen to empower its students and prepare them for higher education.

Dr. Al Shamsi stated that, guided by the UAE leadership’s directives to build a knowledgeable generation that paves the way towards the UAE Vision 2071, enablers and resources are being employed, alongside strategic relationships with partners, to support the Ministry’s plans and implement them on-ground.

UURP is one of the MoE’s initiatives to create a generation of students who are qualified to join the top national and international universities in various disciplines that meet the needs of the labour market.

EMIRATI TODAY - Emirati News, the UAE Daily News

She added that the initiative will also provide guidance and advance planning to students according to their preferences and career goals. This will support students in pursuing education in countries specialising in these programmes.

Moreover, the initiative will facilitate the opportunities for students to receive unconditional academic admissions.

Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, CEO of AGFE, said, “This is another milestone in our university readiness programme, and we are proud of this multi-stakeholder partnership with the UAE Ministry of Education, US Embassy Abu Dhabi, and AMIDEAST. The partnership reflects AGFE’s continued commitment to providing youth in the UAE, and the wider Middle East region, with access to quality higher education opportunities. With the introduction of this ground-breaking collaboration, our objective is to create real and meaningful impact in the lives of Emirati and Arab youth in the region for many years to come.”

In addition to supporting and guiding students interested in studying in the US, the programme provides public secondary school counsellors with the opportunity to familiarise themselves with US university admission procedures and develop new skills and techniques.

Robin D Solomon, Public Affairs Officer, US Embassy in the UAE, commented, “The US Mission to the UAE is proud to work with our partners at the Ministry of Education, the Al Ghurair Foundation, and AMIDEAST to launch of the University Preparation Programme with talented and enthusiastic Emirati students.”

Students will have access to the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Programme, a digital platform with innovative and bespoke online tools to support soft skill development, university and career awareness, and advising support, all designed to ensure successful transitions to higher education.

By leveraging AMIDEAST’s global expertise on US university preparedness and invaluable input from the US Embassy, the programme will further support the UAE Ministry of Education Strategic Plan 2017-2021 of providing quality education for students, as well as meeting future job market demands in a globally competitive society.