We want the nation to draw strength from its traditions of openness, peaceful coexistence, and understanding. In this way, Emiratis will always resist the value-flattening effects of globalization and will always be enriched rather than threatened by their nation’s openness to the world.
(Vision 2021, 2018, p. 13)
Globalization and modernity have influenced policies in the economic, education, healthcare, and financial sectors in various Arab developing countries over the past century. For the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, these concepts have remarkably impacted the region in a limited span of time. One of the most notable adopters of globalization is the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as it has been at the forefront of embracing Western economic, financial, healthcare, and education systems with the aim to compete on a global level.
However, adopting westernized ideologies and systems has not come without its challenges. This paper will elucidate the benefits and challenges of globalization on a developing nation such as the UAE. It will specifically compare and contrast policies that were implemented during the past decade in the education sector that enabled the country to compete on an international level. Furthermore, it will outline challenges that the UAE encounter to preserve Emirati culture in the midst of globalization by analyzing current strategic plans. It will particularly focus on how the country has gone through a series of education reforms to meet the needs of its workforce yet how it attempts to maintain Emirati culture and identity in its curricula from primary to tertiary education in both the public and private sectors. A driving question will be: Is it possible to completely embrace globalization and modernity while still being able to preserve cultural identity? The research will conclude by attempting to answer this question and propose some considerations that should be investigated to further bridge the gap in preserving various aspects of Emirati culture in a modernized education system.
Vision 2021: National Agenda 2021. (2018). Retrieved 10 September 2020, from https://www.vision2021.ae/en/national-agenda-2021
Gina M. Karlin
Lecturer, General Education Department