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FeaturedHigher EdPre K to K-12

New reforms will make UAE a global education hotspot

Grade school students can now also apply for a work permit and take on part-time jobs.

The UAE is positioning itself to be a popular education destination for international and local students through its recent visa reforms and labour law changes to help promote youth employment.

Earlier this month, a new visa scheme made grade 12 students who are dependent on their parents and university graduates eligible for a one-year visa extension, which can be renewed for another year. Grade school students can now also apply for a work permit and take on part-time jobs.

Michael Worth, the business links lead at the Greenfield Community School (GCS), told Khaleej Times that the education sector in the UAE is “maturing rapidly, with an increasing number of students staying here in their senior years and into higher education”.

“This has certainly been the case at my school where an increasing number of students are choosing to stay in the UAE,” Worth said. “The International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme that was pioneered at the GCS has been proven to be an invaluable pathway for practical-minded students both as an alternative route to university and career opportunities locally. The number of excellent universities and range of courses has certainly added to this trend, and I think parents staying and working in the UAE longer have also been a significant factor. While many companies have tended to bring in highly skilled expat employees from overseas, there is an increasing trend where companies are hiring locally schooled and trained personnel.”

Opens doors for the youth

Worth added that the new visa reforms would enhance local students’ opportunities and give them a chance to find a career that they are passionate about.

He said these factors would make the UAE an “increasingly attractive” place of learning for homegrown students, as well as international students.

“The new visa reforms will also give newly graduated high school students time to find a vocation they are passionate about, weigh up their options, and experience different career opportunities while enjoying parental support. The key factor for success has to be the transition from school and higher education into the job market, so a good career advice is critical, not only in the latter years of education. Universities are developing specific programmes suited to the local employment market, such as sandwich degrees with a year spent in a local company and also internships during or after the completion of school studies,” Worth added.

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