1,000,000 AED Fine: Schools Get Warning

Private schools across the UAE have been warned in a social media post by the Ministry of Education that they must comply with requirements in relation to concepts of national identity.
1,000,000 AED Fine: Schools Get Warning
By Susan Roberts
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Private schools across the UAE have been warned in a social media post by the UAE’s federal education authority, the Ministry of Education, that they must comply with the stipulations of Article (11) of Decree of Federal Law No. (18) of 2020, which aims to consolidate the concepts of national identity in students and promote their national affiliation.

Requirements for private schools stipulated by the Ministry of Education are applicable to private schools across the UAE, including those under the licensing of KHDA and ADEK. 

Nine stipulations are listed, including “Performing exclusively the UAE's national anthem during the morning assembly”. Failure to do so may result in penalties of up to AED 1,000,000, temporary closure and for schools refusing to comply, may result in the school’s permanent closure.

The announcement made on 5th December 2022 stated:

The Ministry of Education stresses the need to comply with all the conditions and requirements issued in Article (11) of Decree of Federal Law No. (18) of 2020, which aims to consolidate the concepts of national identity in students and promote their national affiliation in private schools.
The Ministry and the relevant educational authorities, through their monitoring devices, will also verify the schools' compliance with these requirements, that penalties on schools violating should be set as stipulated by Article (28) of Federal Law No. (18) of 2020 on Special Education.

The list of stipulations relating to national identity that schools across the emirates are required to follow are:

  1. 1. Observing public morals and the values and culture of the UAE.
  2. Respecting the symbols and sovereignty of the UAE.
  3. Hanging the official pictures of the rulers in accordance with the guidelines approved by the Emirate which the school is under the authority thereof.
  4.  Performing exclusively the UAE's national anthem during the morning assembly.
  5.  Raising exclusively the UAE's flag in the school in accordance with the guidelines listed in the guide for the use of the UAE flag.
  6. Refraining from placing pictures or paintings of persons or symbols other than the UAE's leaders.
  7. Employees' observing the general appearance in accordance with the traditions and customs of the UAE.
  8. Obtaining the necessary approvals to hold extra-curricular activities, celebrations, and student events.
  9. Ensuring that the curricula or learning resources do not include any violation of the laws of the UAE, or the culture, values and national firm principles of society.

UAE private schools have been aware of these requirements since the issuance of this decree in 2020, although many of these requirements predate it considerably. Many international schools had historically flown the flag and performed the national anthem of their home nation in addition to those of the UAE.

Other Recent Announcements 

The development of national identity in schools is clearly an issue at the forefront of the Ministry’s objectives currently, with the new compulsory Code of Conduct having been issued in September 2020, in which private and public school staff across the UAE were required to sign an agreement on prohibited behaviours, in line with cultural, religious and moral norms of the UAE. 

Emirates School Establishment, the authority responsible for the UAE’s public schools, recently made an official announcement of clarification, following the circulation of a video taken by a parent of National Day celebrations at a UAE public school, where flags of foreign nations were being waved. In the announcement, the authority stated: 

“During the celebrations, a large selection of flags from different countries were displayed, where a parent selected a snapshot of the event and posted it in a negative context. We assure that all government schools are celebrating the National Day with a high sense of responsibility and national awareness.”

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