Abu Dhabi, UAE

Shaikha Alzaabi
Abu Dhabi Education Council

Language and Literacy

Instruction in Abu Dhabi schools is conducted in Arabic and English, although Arabic is the official language of the Emirate and the most common mother tongue in public schools. Prior to 2007, the only English instruction that students received was in the subject of English language. In 2007, select government schools introduced English instruction for the subjects of mathematics, science, and English. Students at Ministry of Education schools receive instruction in Arabic, while private schools can choose the language of instruction based on their curricula. Private schools also may offer foreign languages including French, German, Japanese, and Persian.

The Abu Dhabi School Model (ADSM), previously known as the New School Model, was introduced in 2010 to all government schools from kindergarten to Grade 3. This model stipulates that instruction for mathematics, science, and English must be provided in English. Taking a student centered approach that aims to develop Arabic and English literacy, the ADSM considers the differences and similarities between the two languages in order to facilitate the development of students’ literacy skills.1 Additional grades have been added to the ADSM each year since 2011, with the model currently reaching Grade 9. Full implementation of the ADSM will occur in the 2019−2020 academic year.