UAE Progresses in Digital Literacy and Knowledge-Based Economy

UAE Progresses in Digital Literacy and Knowledge-Based Economy

The UAE has made significant strides in advancing its knowledge-based economy, as revealed in a comprehensive report on the 'State of Computer Science and ICT Education in the United Arab Emirates'.

Developed as a collaboration between the World Governments Summit (WGS) Organisation, e& and, the report provides insights into the nation's commitment to fostering digital literacy and preparing citisens for 21st-century challenges.

Shifting away from traditional sectors, the UAE Government has made a decisive commitment to knowledge-based growth. With a substantial education budget of US$2.7 billion in 2023 and US$2.8 billion in 2024, the nation prioritises programming and emerging technologies, aiming to transform and diversify its economic landscape. This aligns with the UAE National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, which focuses on developing elite tech talent.

Ali Al Mansoori, Group Chief Human Resources Officer at e&, said,

“In an era where digital frontiers are expanding at an unprecedented pace, equipping our children with robust computer science skills, including coding and an understanding of generative AI, is not just an asset—it’s a necessity. As we build these digital skills in our youth, we empower our workforce, ensuring our country’s competitive edge in a world where technology is the universal language of progress.”

Emphasising the development of elite tech talent, the UAE invests substantially in education, allocating funds to universities and implementing directives to enhance computational thinking. Currently, 24% of the population possesses programming skills, in line with the UAE National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. Initiatives like ‘UAE Codes Day’ and ‘One Million Arab Coders’ aim to foster coding skills among the youth, contributing to the nation’s vision for a digital future.

The report indicates that 96% of parents believe computer science fosters creativity, problem solving skills, and structured thinking, while 88% of the UAE public believes that computer science opens job opportunities and reduces inequalities.

Ranked sixth globally in the Network Readiness Index for ICT skills in the education system, the UAE showcases remarkable digital proficiency among students and teachers, underscoring the nation’s commitment to fostering a digitally literate society. Furthermore, 86% of the public agrees that offering early-age training in computer science is crucial to avoid missing a strategic opportunity compared to other countries already implementing such programmes.

The UAE stands out as one of the few countries where computer science education is mandatory in primary and secondary schools, with 99% of parents whose children are learning computer science expressing a desire for them to continue studying it.

The evolution of the UAE’s computer science education, marked by milestones such as the 2015 revision of the Computer Science and Technology Standards (CST) and the 2019 integration of technology subjects under the Computing Creative Design and Innovation (CCDI) curriculum, underscores the nation’s strategic and progressive approach to nurturing a technologically skilled future generation.

Moreover, ongoing initiatives, such as the collaborations with and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in 2023/24 ensure that the Computer Science curricula aligns with the latest global best practices.

Looking ahead, the UAE aims to sustain its growth trajectory by developing further in areas such as experiential learning, raising awareness about computer science, increasing Arabic content, and teacher specialization. Initiatives like the ongoing collaboration with play a crucial role in reshaping educational landscapes and ensuring digital skills are accessible to students worldwide.

Pat Yongpradit, Chief Academic Officer for, said,

“ has been a game-changer in the global education landscape, tackling the digital divide head-on. By providing resources, training, and advocacy, we’ve opened doors for millions of students worldwide to learn computer science and helped UAE students use these skills to continue the tradition of innovation in the country.”

The UAE anticipates continuous innovation and efforts to raise awareness about CS education, combined with enhanced resources and comprehensive teacher training to solidify its position as a global leader in digital literacy, preparing the youth for the dynamic demands of the 21st Century workforce.

News Source: Emirates News Agency

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