How the UAE is creating inclusive education for people of determination

The UAE has made tangible efforts to include people of determination in mainstream education. These efforts are reflected in the Ministerial Resolution No. 647 for the year 2020 on the policy of inclusive education (PDF in Arabic, 500 KB), which directs government schools to adapt themselves to cater to the needs of people of determination and provide them with the best education services.

Additionally, the ministry established the People of Determination Department (formerly known as the Special Education Department), in 2008 to protect the rights of students of determination and provide them with equal opportunities as other students. The ministry also provides all supporting services (mentioned below) to students of determination for free in government schools.

The ministry provides specialised teachers with high behavioural skills that enable them to care for people of determination. It also launched several skill training programmes that include clear instructions on dealing with people with visual and hearing impairment. It launched programmes for teachers to identify talents, understand sign language for those with hearing difficulties, and know how to properly deal with language disorders experienced by children.

The ministry has established support centres across the UAE to follow up on the progress of students of determination before and after inclusion within schools. These centres provide different services such as diagnosis of students with disabilities and learning difficulties, providing recommendations, assisting parents in dealing with their child’s condition, and advising support services suitable for their children.

Services and facilities for students of determination

The schools are required to provide the following facilities for students of determination:

  • wheelchair ramps and elevators, toilets, buses, cars and parking spaces prepared for students with physical disabilities
  • special education resource rooms and sensory and comprehensive rooms
  • specialised human cadres such as: special education teacher, teacher assistant, escort, sign language interpreter, Braille education specialist, visual impairment specialist, psychologist, speech and language specialist, special education specialist
  • assessment and diagnosis of students of determination by a multidisciplinary team
  • support services and individual and group treatment and rehabilitation sessions, according to their needs such as speech and language sessions, Braille education sessions, behaviour modification sessions, sign language sessions
  • counselling, awareness and guidance sessions for parents of students of determination
  • devices and assistive technologies according to their special needs
  • workshops and courses for administration staff, teachers, guides, specialists and parents of students.

Note that workshops are conducted for students of both, public and private schools.

In addition, schools must support students of determination by engaging them in all activities of the ministry such as prize awarding, competitions and programmes inside and outside the UAE such as the “Our Ambassadors” program.

View the list of services and facilities provided by government schools to students of determination (Arabic, xlsx, 114 KB).

Below is a list of assistive technologies provided to each category of student of determination according to their needs.

Type of impairmentDevice
Visual impairmentDesktop magnifier for reading and writingBraille NoteGoalballClassic and regular Perkins BraillerSensory bag to develop the sensory skills of the visually impaired student
Autism and mental impairmentTalking photo albumDevices specialised in communication and language skills developmentComprehensive talking Arabic language skills bag
Hearing impairmentFrequency modulation (FM) system in the classrooms

Read the supporting technologies and devices guide (PDF, Arabic, 1.56 MB).

Caring about students of determination during the COVID-19 crisis

The ministry continued to provide support to students of determination during the pandemic of COVID-19 through distance education platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Al-Diwan, etc.). Exams were conducted electronically. A sign language interpreter was provided to the students. Remote assessment, diagnosis and treatment sessions too continued.

Dubai Inclusive Education Policy Framework

In support of the ‘My community… a city for every one’ initiative and Dubai Disability Strategy 2020 which aims for Dubai to become disability-friendly by 2020, Knowledge and Human Development Authority – KHDA launched the Dubai Inclusive Education Policy Framework (PDF).

The framework provides valuable information about the standards required in the area of educational practice and offers clear guidance on the actions to be taken to ensure the provision of quality inclusive services for students of determination (disabled or people with special needs).

The framework applies to all education sectors across Dubai. It includes early childhood services, special needs centres and primary, secondary and higher education providers. It also empowers education providers, regulatory authorities and governing bodies in Dubai to closely monitor progress and compliance.