Emirati students are now taking 'moral lessons' at school

Emirati students are now taking 'moral lessons' at school
Emirati students have returned to school where they will study 'morals' for the first time, as the UAE seeks to assert its principles on the country's youth.
2 min read
24 Sep, 2017
School children in the UAE will be instructed on national morals [AFP-file photo]
Emirati students will add moral education to their timetables this term, as the UAE makes it compulsory for schools to teach the courses in the classroom.

Moral education will be taught to pupils of all ages for one hour a week and will stress national obedience, tolerance and patriotism.

Although schools are free to adapt the courses how they like they must abide to four principles and teach core objectives.

Students will be assessed by teachers and schools monitored by authorities.

The course will be split into four sections - character and morality, the individual and community, civic studies, and cultural studies - and part of the UAE's bid to foster a more controlled learning environment.

Abu Dhabi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed al-Nahyan developed the idea of moral education.

It comes as UAE authorities encourage tolerance and tackle extremism through public initiatives, new ministries and laws and education.

Critics say these measures are an attempt by authorities to further control the population and quash dissent.

Moral education is already being taught in schools in the UAE by teachers trained in the subject, Gulf News reported.

"Through [moral education] students will learn about themselves and the family, friends, peers. They will focus on values such as fairness, affection, tolerance, equality, appreciation, compassion and empathy," Clive Pierrepont, director of communications at Taaleem told the Dubai-based daily.

"They will also look at features of the government, conflict, trade and travel, and many other areas based around the four pillars."

A chart sent to schools has shown that the course aims at inspiring "solidarity", "respecting law and order" and "civic duties".

It is part of the UAE's push to centralise the state and foster patriotism, with the war in Yemen strengthening nationalist sentiments in the country.

The new course has stirred debate with some viewing the course as teaching "secular" rather than traditional or religious morals.