One of the UAE’s highest priorities has always been education. As His Highness (H.H.) Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, founder of the UAE, noted, “The greatest use that can be made of wealth is to invest it in creating generations of educated and trained people.” and "The real asset of any advanced nation is its people, especially the educated ones, and the prosperity and success of the people are measured by the standard of their education."

A rapid rise in population has necessitated a considerable investment in education. Today, the UAE offers a comprehensive education to all male and female students from kindergarten to university, with education for the country’s citizens being provided free at all levels. There is also an extensive private education sector, while several thousand students, of both sexes, pursue courses of higher education abroad at government expense.

Much has been achieved since the early 1970s but efforts are now being made to improve the educational environment for all pupils, in line with a re-evaluation of the role of government.

The UAE has focused on educating both men and women. In 1975, the rate of adult literacy was 54% among men and 31% among women. Today, literacy rates for both genders are nearly 95%.

New initiatives are being launched at all educational levels. A key area of focus has been to transform K-12 programs, to ensure that UAE students are fully prepared to attend universities around the world and compete in the global marketplace. In addition, some of the world’s best universities are creating programs in the UAE, attracting talented students in the Arab world and globally.

The UAE’s commitment to education has helped the nation diversify its economy and prepared a new generation of young people ready to compete in the global marketplace. In 2019, young people surveyed throughout the Arab world identified the UAE as the top country to live in and to emulate for the eighth year running, reflecting the opportunities available to youth entering the workforce.


Education in the UAE can be analyzed from four angles: