ABU DHABI - The Ministry of Education (MoE) issued a decision regarding admission requirements to UAE-based higher education institutions (HEIs).

According to the decision, the use of the Emirates Standardised Test (EmSAT) will become optional for universities starting from the admission procedures for the academic year 2023-2024.

HEIs can now choose to use the MoE-designed EmSAT or other approved assessment tools in the country to evaluate students' capabilities as part of their admission requirements, setting their own minimum scores as long as university education standards are maintained according to academic accreditation standards.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education, said, “The decision is part of the ongoing efforts to develop a national education system that aligns with international best practices. This includes a comprehensive framework of nationally and internationally recognised tests that students must take.”

He added, “The move followed multiple consultations between MoE and the relevant stakeholders, including HEIs, students and parents, on means of enhancing the tertiary education system to best serve the interests of students and their academic future.”

Dr. Al Falasi mentioned, “The ministry will work closely with UAE-based HEIs to regularly review the developments of the decision, in order to achieve the best educational outcomes.”

He said, “The MoE-designed EmSAT is an effective tool for measuring the skills and capabilities of students. We have now given UAE-based universities the choice to use the EmSAT or other approved assessment tools that suit their admission and specialisation criteria. Additionally, we have provided HEIs with the flexibility to set minimum scores for assessment tests in all subjects according to the major to be studied, focusing on relevant student skillsets and labour market requirements.”

Dr. Al Falasi said, “MoE continues to modernise the educational system in the UAE and devise educational strategies and tools in accordance with best practices and in line with the wise leadership's directives and the UAE Centennial 2071.”

HEIs have several options to determine students’ proficiency in relevant subjects. These include EmSAT or other assessment tests, centralised exams in one of the international curricula, such as A levels or the International Baccalaureate (IB), or their own admission tests approved by MoE.

MoE follows a robust methodology that enables various UAE-based HEIs to submit any suggestions regarding the mechanisms regulating the educational process. The ministry is keen to discuss such proposals with the concerned departments and clarify any new procedures to the relevant stakeholders as part of a constructive cooperation framework aimed at improving education in the country. The ministry is currently reviewing a number of proposals submitted by some HEIs regarding the admission procedures and criteria.

Launched by MoE in 2019, the EmSAT is a national system of computer-based standardised tests, modelled on various national criteria and internationally approved assessment tools and applied across different academic cycles.

It aims to measure the knowledge and skills of students who have reached certain milestones on their educational journey or who are transiting to the higher education stage. The test can be used by HEIs for admission purposes and provides a clear picture of the performance of students in the UAE across diverse academic subjects, benchmarked nationally and internationally.