New Collaborative Effort to Prepare Emirati Youth for Higher Education Studies in the U.S. Launches

DUBAI, UAE – 14 June, 2021: The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) has announced a new multi-stakeholder collaboration, the U.S. University Readiness Program, together with the UAE Ministry of Education, AMIDEAST and the U.S. The university-geared upskilling program will develop the skills of 105 Emirati 11th-grade high school students and 33 counsellors from nearly 47 schools across the UAE to navigate the admissions process of higher education institutions in the U.S.
The 15-month-long program seeks to improve acceptance and enrollment opportunities for Emirati students applying to colleges and universities across the U.S. As part of the collaboration, the students will take part in an interactive, engaging after-school enrichment program. It will focus on fostering their English-language competencies and developing the communication, problem-solving and critical thinking skills needed to achieve the required scores on standardized exams required for U.S. university admission.
The participating students will also be guided through the many other aspects involved in the U.S. university admissions system. This includes developing their knowledge of U.S. educational opportunities, supporting them to navigate the application process, and equipping them with the necessary skills for test preparation. In addition to assistance with university application submissions, financial aid application support will also be provided as needed.
H.E. Dr. Amna AlDahak AlShamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for Care and Capacity Building Sector in the Ministry of Education, affirmed that the Ministry is keen to empower its students and prepare them for higher education. This will be done by providing them with skillssuch as adaptation, independence, and critical thinking.
Furthermore, H.E. stated that—guided by the Ministry’s vision and our wise leadership’s directives to build a knowledgeable generation that paves the way towards the UAE Vision 2071— enablers and resources are being employed, alongside strategic relationships with partners, to support the Ministry’s plans and implement them on-ground. One such initiative is the U.S. Universities Readiness Program (UURP), which was launched by the Ministry of Education in cooperation with the U.S. Mission to the UAE, AMIDEAST, and the Abdullah Al Ghurair Foundation for Education. UURP is one of the Ministry of Education’s initiatives to create a generation of students who are qualified to join the top national and international universities in various disciplines that meet the needs of the labor market.
H.E. added that the initiative will also provide guidance and advance planning to students according to their preferences and career goals. This will support students in pursuing education in countries specializing in these programs. It will also empower them by enhancing their language acquisition skills and cultural knowledge. Moreover, the initiative will facilitate the opportunities for students to receive unconditional academic admissions. In addition, distinguished students will receive academic guidance in line with their career goals, thereby preparing national cadres to choose appropriate specializations when joining international educational institutions.
Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, Chief Executive Officer of AGFE, said: “This is another milestone in our university readiness program, and we are proud of this multi-stakeholder partnership with the UAE Ministry of Education, U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi, and AMIDEAST. The partnership reflects AGFE’s continued commitment to providing youth in the UAE, and the wider Middle East region, with access to quality higher education opportunities. With the introduction of this ground-breaking collaboration, our objective is to create real and meaningful impact in the lives of Emirati and Arab youth in the region for many years to come.”
In addition to supporting and guiding students interested in studying in the U.S., the program provides public secondary school counsellors with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with U.S. university admission procedures and develop new skills and techniques.
Robin D Solomon Public Affairs Officer – U.S. Embassy in the UAE, commented: “The U.S. Mission to the UAE is proud to work with our partners at the Ministry of Education, the Al Ghurair Foundation, and AMIDEAST to launch of the University Preparation Program with talented and enthusiastic Emirati students. Our hope is that this major milestone in our U.S.-UAE Strategic Dialogue on Education enables more UAE students to study in the U.S. and helps students form lasting friendships that bring our two countries even closer.”
Through AMIDEAST’s instructional approach, the program will provide a learner-centric, innovative experience that motivates students to remain engaged and committed throughout its duration. Students will also have access to the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program, a digital platform with innovative and bespoke online tools to support soft skill development, university and career awareness, and advising support, all designed to ensure successful transitions to higher education.
Rula Dajani, AMIDEAST Country Director said: “AMIDEAST is honored to be working with the Ministry of Education, the U.S. Mission to the UAE and the Al Ghurair Foundation on this key national project that is very much in line with the UAE Vision 2021. AMIDEAST will pursue its mission to enhance the minds of learners and empower them with the English-language tools, standardized testing strategies and educational institutional knowledge necessary to support their readiness for U.S. higher education opportunities and prepare them to take leading responsibilities of their learning journey..”
By leveraging AMIDEAST’s global expertise on U.S. university preparedness and invaluable input from the U.S. Embassy, the program will further support the UAE Ministry of Education Strategic Plan 2017-2021 of providing quality education for students, as well as meeting future job market demands in a globally competitive society. The strategic private-public sector partnership is in line with AGFE’s efforts to strengthen partnerships across sectors and have a wide-reaching, lasting impact on the livelihoods of young Emiratis across the region.
The program is currently underway and being delivered online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more about the program, please visit the website here.