Education for People of Determination in UAE

Education for People of Determination in UAE

In the United Arab Emirates, inclusivity and support for individuals with special needs, often referred to as “people of determination,” are paramount. The nation is dedicated to creating a nurturing environment where every individual, regardless of their abilities or challenges, can access education, thrive, and reach their fullest potential. This article delves into the various provisions, programs, initiatives, and schools tailored to empower and enrich the lives of people of determination in UAE. It offers insights into the nation’s commitment to inclusive education and the resources available to foster their development and well-being.

Education for People of Determination

Education for People of Determination in UAE

In the United Arab Emirates, the term “special education” encompasses a wide array of programs and services meticulously designed to meet the unique needs of individuals referred to as “people of determination,” those with special needs. The overarching objective is to ensure that every student, irrespective of their abilities or challenges, can fully unleash their potential within the educational system.

Within this framework, the phrase “special educational needs” characterizes the specific requirements of individuals with disabilities, disorders, difficulties, impairments, exceptionalities, or any other factors that might impact their access to learning and overall educational performance.

The UAE government has been unwavering in its commitment to championing education and learning services for people of determination. Notably, in November 2006, the UAE ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol, a significant step towards safeguarding the rights of individuals with special needs.

The legal landscape in the UAE has been fortified by Federal Law No. 29 of 2006, the nation’s inaugural law dedicated to protecting the rights of people of determination. Article 12 of this law underscores the country’s dedication to providing equal opportunities in education, be it within mainstream educational settings or specialized classes equipped with tailored curricula, including sign language and Braille, as deemed suitable.

Central to this commitment is the Ministry of Education’s (MoE) strategy, which focuses on the adaptation of public schools to ensure accessibility for people of determination. Consequently, these individuals have the unequivocal right to enroll in any school, without exception. The Department of Special Education, established in 2008 by MoE, plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the rights and educational opportunities of people of determination, ensuring their equitable access to the same educational resources as their peers in regular education settings.

Education stands as one of the core pillars of the ‘National Policy for Empowering People of Determination.’ The government is dedicated to providing an integrated educational system within public and vocational education, with tailored curricula to meet their needs. This commitment extends to offering qualified educators and specialists, as well as adopting appropriate assistive technologies and learning materials to facilitate a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

Education for People of Determination in UAE

Inclusive Education for Empowering Individuals of Determination

The United Arab Emirates has embarked on a remarkable journey towards inclusive education, with a focus on integrating people of determination into mainstream learning environments. This commitment is underscored by Ministerial Resolution No. 647 for the year 2020, which outlines the policy of inclusive education. This policy directs government schools to adapt and cater to the unique needs of people of determination, ensuring they receive the highest quality educational services.

In 2008, the Ministry of Education took a significant step by establishing the People of Determination Department (formerly known as the Special Education Department). This dedicated department plays a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of students of determination and ensuring that they enjoy equal opportunities, just like their peers. As part of its comprehensive support, the ministry offers a range of free support services within government schools, benefiting students of determination.

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To further enhance the educational experience, the ministry provides specialized teachers equipped with advanced behavioral skills to cater to the unique needs of people of determination. It has also introduced skill training programs that offer clear guidance on interacting with individuals with visual and hearing impairments. These programs empower teachers to identify talents, comprehend sign language for those with hearing difficulties, and effectively address language disorders experienced by children.

Across the UAE, the ministry has established support centers tasked with monitoring the progress of students of determination before and after their inclusion in regular schools. These centers offer a variety of services, including the diagnosis of students with disabilities and learning difficulties, the provision of valuable recommendations, guidance for parents in managing their child’s condition, and advice on selecting the most appropriate support services for their children. This comprehensive approach underscores the UAE’s unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive and empowering educational landscape for all.

Support and Facilities for Students of Determination

In the United Arab Emirates, educational institutions are mandated to offer a range of facilities and services to ensure that students of determination receive the support they need. These provisions include:

  1. Accessibility features: Schools are equipped with wheelchair ramps, elevators, and accessible toilets, in addition to buses, cars, and parking spaces designed to accommodate students with physical disabilities.

  2. Specialized learning environments: Schools are equipped with special education resource rooms, sensory rooms, and comprehensive rooms, fostering an inclusive and supportive atmosphere.

  3. Dedicated professionals: A team of specialized professionals is on hand, including special education teachers, teacher assistants, escorts, sign language interpreters, Braille education specialists, visual impairment specialists, psychologists, speech and language specialists, and special education specialists.

  4. Multidisciplinary assessment: Students of determination benefit from comprehensive assessment and diagnosis carried out by a multidisciplinary team, ensuring tailored support.

  5. Individual and group sessions: Support services encompass individual and group treatment and rehabilitation sessions, addressing specific needs such as speech and language therapy, Braille education, behavior modification, and sign language instruction.

  6. Guidance and counseling: Parents of students of determination receive essential support through counseling, awareness, and guidance sessions, empowering them to be effective advocates for their children.

  7. Assistive technologies: To cater to their unique requirements, students are provided with devices and assistive technologies that facilitate their learning and daily life.

  8. Professional development: Workshops and courses are organized for administrative staff, teachers, guides, specialists, and parents of students, fostering a holistic approach to support and education.

It’s noteworthy that these workshops are extended to students of determination in both public and private schools, reflecting the UAE’s commitment to inclusive education.

Education for People of Determination in UAE

Empowering Individuals of Determination through Inclusive Services and Assistive Technologies

Furthermore, schools are required to actively involve people of determination in all ministry-related activities, including prize awards, competitions, and various programs both within and outside the UAE, such as the “Our Ambassadors” program.

To access a comprehensive list of services and facilities offered by government schools to students of determination, you can refer to the provided document (Arabic, xlsx, 114 KB).

Moreover, the following is an outline of the assistive technologies made available to students of determination, customized to cater to the unique needs of each category of students.

Type of impairment


Visual impairment

  1. Desktop magnifier for reading and writing
  2. Braille Note
  3. Goalball
  4. Classic and regular Perkins Brailler
  5. Sensory Bag for Enhancing Sensory Skills in Visually Impaired Students

Autism and mental impairment

  1. Talking photo album
  2. Specialized Devices for Enhancing Communication and Language Skills
  3. Comprehensive talking Arabic language skills bag

Hearing impairment

  1. Frequency modulation (FM) system in the classrooms

Dubai's Commitment to Inclusive Education

In alignment with the ‘My community… a city for every one‘ initiative and the Dubai Disability Strategy 2020, which envisions a disability-friendly Dubai by 2020, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) introduced the Dubai Inclusive Education Policy Framework.

The framework not only outlines the essential standards necessary for educational practices but also provides clear directives on the measures to be taken to ensure the delivery of high-quality inclusive services for students of determination, encompassing those with disabilities or special needs.

Crucially, the framework is all-encompassing, extending its application to all educational sectors throughout Dubai. This includes early childhood services, special needs centers, as well as primary, secondary, and higher education providers. Furthermore, it empowers education providers, regulatory authorities, and governing bodies in Dubai to closely monitor progress and compliance, fostering a more inclusive and supportive educational landscape for all.

Promoting Equal Opportunities

The Ministry of Education (MoE) in the UAE is dedicated to ensuring equal opportunities for all, including children of determination, their parents, and kindergarten teachers. To achieve this, MoE has implemented a range of training programs and facilities designed to empower these individuals.

These programs encompass guidance on effectively engaging with people who have visual and hearing impairments, talent identification initiatives, fostering an understanding of sign language for individuals with hearing impairments, and addressing speech and language disorders commonly observed in kindergarten-age children. Through these comprehensive programs, MoE endeavors to create a more inclusive and supportive educational environment.

Support Centers for People of Determination

The Ministry of Education has taken proactive steps to establish support centers, dedicated to monitoring and assessing the progress of individuals of determination both before and after their integration into educational institutions. These centers play a pivotal role in providing a range of crucial services, including:

  1. Individual Diagnosis: Conducting individual assessments of students with disabilities and learning difficulties, ensuring tailored support.

  2. Recommendations: Offering valuable recommendations to guide educators, parents, and students towards the most effective strategies for their unique needs.

  3. Parental Support: Providing essential assistance and support to parents, empowering them to navigate their child’s situation and directing them to appropriate support services.

Furthermore, national institutes focused on individuals of determination have the opportunity to benefit from annual grants, rewards, and professional development programs to enhance expertise in the field of special education.

Additionally, the Community Development Authority (CDA) extends tuition assistance in cash, amounting to up to AED 50,000 per year, to families with low income who have children with disabilities, ensuring access to quality education.

For additional details, please refer to the Khalifa Award for Education and related resources.

Centers Supporting People of Determination

A wide range of government and private organizations, centers, and clubs are committed to providing training and rehabilitation services for individuals of determination, referring to individuals with special needs. The Ministry of Community Development plays a pivotal role in issuing licenses to private organizations and centers dedicated to the care, education, and training of individuals of determination. For detailed insights into the services offered by the Ministry of Community Development for individuals of determination, please consult their resources.

Key government centers in this field encompass:

1. Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination (ZHO): ZHO serves as an overarching entity encompassing humanitarian bodies, social services, institutions for individuals of determination, and any prospective organizations established in Abu Dhabi with a focus on humanitarian objectives. For comprehensive information, please explore Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination.

2. Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS): An independent organization in the emirate of Sharjah, SCHS operates under the purview of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah. It is dedicated to serving individuals of determination in the UAE, with an annual outreach to over 3,000 individuals from various nationalities and age groups. Learn more about Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services.

Furthermore, you can find a list of schools catering to individuals of determination, categorized by emirate, which includes Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah. These educational institutions are pivotal in providing tailored support and education for students with specific needs.

Abu Dhabi



Ras Al Khaimah