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Dubai announces new inclusive education policy framework

A new policy framework aimed at promoting greater inclusion in Dubai’s private education sector was announced on Thursday by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority, KHDA.  Providing information on procedures and standards necessary for improving inclusive education in Dubai, the "Inclusive Education Policy Framework" was announced at an event hosted at Zayed University. 

H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee on the Rights of People of Determination, said, "The UAE Constitution has established education as an acquired right for every citizen. The launch of the inclusive education policy comes in line with the national policy directives of the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to empower people of determination with the aim of building an inclusive society free from all obstacles." 

The policy framework was developed under the leadership of The Executive Council of Dubai through its "My Community A City for Everyone" initiative as part of the collaborative efforts of the Higher Committee on the Rights of People of Determination. Through its leadership on the inclusive education taskforce, KHDA has collaborated with other government partners to develop Dubai’s inclusive education policy. 

Sheikh Mansour said, "Education is a top priority and by creating equal educational opportunities for all we will contribute to the abilities of our young learners and help develop the country in line with future aspirations that aim to make Dubai and UAE a model nation." 

Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director-General of KHDA, said, "The new framework aligns with strategic plans and initiatives aimed at making Dubai a fully cohesive and inclusive society as part of the Dubai Disability Strategy. Our aspiration to be a fully inclusive city by 2020 will be strengthened by the new guidelines that enable greater access and better provisioning for students who experience special educational needs and disabilities in Dubai." 

The framework applies to all education sectors across Dubai including early childhood services, special needs centres, as well as primary, secondary and higher education providers. It also empowers education providers, regulatory authorities and governing bodies in Dubai to closely monitor progress and compliance. 

Dr. Al Karam further added, "When we improve the quality of inclusion, we improve education for all. This is a major step-forward in our aspiration to provide access to high-quality education for everyone in Dubai." 

Based on international best practice and research, the policy framework provides definitions of key terms and outlines 10 key standards to ensure inclusion in education. 

Fatma Belrehif, Executive Director of Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau at KHDA, said, "By developing clear standards, the framework will encourage educators and parents to ensure students of determination have better opportunities as part of a fully inclusive education community. It will challenge the use of outdated definitions and perceptions of students with special education needs and disabilities." 

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