UAE drafting Federal Law on higher education

Law aims to improve educational systems to keep up with societal changes and exponential technologies and to enhance its quality and competitiveness

Image used for illustrative purpose. Rear view of group of students raising hands to answer teacher's question in the classroom. Focus is on hands in the middle.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Rear view of group of students raising hands to answer teacher's question in the classroom. Focus is on hands in the middle.

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ABU DHABI - The Ministerial Development Council on Monday reviewed a proposal for the preparation of a federal law on Higher Education, along with a number of other resolutions, initiatives and reports related to the government and the improvement of the institutions’ performance in various sectors in the Federal Government.

The Council meeting, held at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs in Abu Dhabi, was chaired by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs.

As part of its agenda of legislative affairs, the Ministerial Development Council discussed the preparation of a federal law on higher education. The law aims to improve educational systems to keep up with societal changes and exponential technologies and to enhance its quality and competitiveness. The law also aims to encourage scientific research within higher education institutions and ensure their effective governance and management in accordance with quality criteria of systems and programmes. In addition, the draft law stresses the importance of applying uniform criteria for academic degrees classification and requirements for obtaining them.

The law is targeted at developing the legislative frameworks for higher education institutions and enhances their performance and quality. It gives local entities regulating education sector the flexibility to implement their role, in such a way as to achieve the desired complementarity in roles and requirements and to enhance coordination between federal and local authorities responsible for higher education.

The law determines the general framework regulating education in the country with a view to identifying the basic rules governing the work of educational institutions, their programmes, curricula, and those working in them, and guaranteeing the quality of their operations and outputs.

The Ministerial Development Council also discussed a number of resolutions relating to the development of government and legislative work. These resolutions included a Cabinet draft resolution on new-born medical screening system, which aims at unifying procedures across the country in line with the best practices in preventive health services and improving public health in society, especially in the area of ??protecting the health of future generations through early detection of diseases that can negatively affect the health of new-borns in the future. This will allow to take action to avoid them or alleviate their consequences.

Along the same lines, the Ministerial Development Council discussed a draft Resolution issued by the Cabinet concerning the Implementing Regulation of the Federal Decree on Regulation of Human Organs and Tissue Transplantation. The Implementing Regulation aims to regulate the procedures for transplanting, preserving and distributing human organs, and to develop the necessary programmes and plans to train and improve the qualifications of health practitioners in the field of human organs and tissue transplantation. The Regulation also seeks to foster a culture of organs and tissues donation, and to provide the best possible health care for all donors and recipients of organs.

Relating to initiatives and policies, the Ministerial Development Council, as part of its agenda, reviewed the proposal to form a National Wellbeing Council. This latter aims to manage and coordinate the policies and programmes related to the Wellbeing National Strategy across the UAE. It also aims to boost cooperation between all relevant entities in a manner that serves the quality of life of both individuals and society as a whole, and to encourage entities to adopt wellbeing as a comprehensive concept while planning and implementing the policies related to the different areas of wellbeing. The National Wellbeing Council will include representatives from federal and local government entities, private sector and the community.

In the same context, the Ministerial Development Council discussed the formation of the National Council for Digital Wellbeing, which aims to develop and follow up on the implementation of policies and programmes in order to ensure the quality of digital wellbeing for citizens, raise digital awareness among all segments of society and encourage the purposeful use of technology. This Council will be responsible for revising legislation and laws and evaluating the need for their update, and also for studying proposals submitted by various entities, which require specific legislation to follow up on their implementation. The National Council for Digital Wellbeing will also be responsible for developing initiatives and programmes to enhance the digital quality of life.

The Ministerial Development Council, during its meeting, reviewed the recommendations of the National Council with regard to the policy of the Emirates Post Group, and was informed of a recommendation about exempting UAE University from implementing some provisions of the Decree by Law on the rules of preparing the general budget and the final account.

On organisational matters, the Ministerial Development Council discussed the Formation of the National Committee for Folk Arts, which is a national art advisory committee to deal with all folk arts activities across the country in terms of both artistic and scientific aspects. The Committee aims to enhance the national identity and to raise the bar of folk arts which constitute an important element of the nation's heritage. To this end, the Committee will seek to develop, oversee and direct these arts by aligning them with the principles and values ??of the UAE and investing them to introduce the UAE identity and heritage in international forums.

The Committee will be responsible for granting approvals for folk arts teams and associations before practicing their artistic activities, and also examining the artistic content of any folk art group visiting the country before submitting their shows so as to ensure that the content is convenient for local customs and traditions and is not violating social norms and public decency.

During the meeting, the Ministerial Development Council was briefed about a number of government reports and national files. These included the results of a review of the Outsourcing Governance Procedures Manual in the federal government, review of the report of the State Audit Institution regarding the final accounts of each of UAE Red Crescent Authority, UAE Etisalat Group Company, and General Civil Aviation Authority for the fiscal year 2018, in addition to the final account of the Federal Tax Authority for the fiscal years 2017-2018. The Ministerial Development Council also reviewed the first semi-annual report for 2019 about the latest developments in negotiations of free trade agreements between the GCC countries and the other economic blocs.

The meeting also highlighted the recommendations of the meeting (110) of the Financial and Economic Cooperation Committee, which was held in the Sultanate of Oman last October. Discussion also touched on the report of the participation in the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund, IMF, and the World Bank Group, along with many other topics and proposals listed on the agenda.

© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2020.

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