The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), have launched the Vocational Achievement Program, which will be implemented by HCT and the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET) starting from the 2016-2017 academic school year.
The program aims to provide high school graduates who were not able to meet admission eligibility criteria at UAE’s institutions of higher education with the opportunity to develop specific skills and knowledge to access the labor market. 800 students were admitted to the program which will qualify them to join vocational programs equivalent to the Level 4 Certificate of the Emirates Qualifications Framework. The program was developed based on a comprehensive study conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to identify the vocational disciplines needed by the UAE economy in the foreseeable future.
His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, Minister of State for Higher Education, noted that the Ministry places a high priority on providing educational opportunities for all Emirati students and enabling them to meet college eligibility requirements. His Excellency also explained that higher education in the UAE is currently facing major challenges, including some high school graduates being unable to meet the admissions criteria at public universities which require a General School Certificate with a minimum average of 70% in literacy sections for acceptance into undergraduate programs. Students who cannot meet the Common Educational Proficiency Assessment (CEPA) English requirement (minimum score of 150), International English Language Test System (IELTS) Overall Band 5 or equivalent exam have to undergo a foundation year before becoming eligible to apply for university in the UAE.
“In response to these challenges, the Vocational Achievement Program was introduced to equip high school graduates with the necessary skills and knowledge that align with the needs of the UAE labor market in various fields, including Electrical Maintenance and Mechanical Maintenance Engineering, Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, Information Technology, Media, Entrepreneurship, Health and Environmental Safety, Social and Financial Care. In partnership with the Higher Colleges of Technology and the Abu Dhabi Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, we are investing in students’ capabilities, guiding them in their academic journey and helping them develop the skillset needed to better serve the country’s economic future,” His Excellency stated.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, Director of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), noted “This initiative aims to provide educational opportunities for students of all academic performance levels. The colleges have developed their academic curriculum to admit high school graduates regardless of their English language proficiency level, provide multi-level educational paths that align with the vocational qualifications system, and train students to undergo programs of Level 4 Certificate within the Emirati Qualifications Framework in a variety of career paths.”
“Students enrolled in the Vocational Achievement Program will be able to hone their scientific and technical skills as well as their English language proficiency in order to graduate as qualified technicians and professionals. Graduates of the program will also have the opportunity to pursue their university education and enroll in diploma and bachelor's degree programs at HCT. The Vocational Achievement Program will run for a period of two years and its completion will depend on the student’s level of academic achievement,” he added.
Also speaking about the new program, H.E. Mubarak Al Shamsi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Center for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ACTVET) said, “The Vocational Achievement Program is a strong testament of our commitment to supporting younger generations of Emiratis and ensuring that all national competencies and skills are developed to sustain the economic growth of the UAE. I advise students enrolled in the program to take advantage of this educational opportunity, knowing that they can continue their education in various programs or vocational disciplines they wish to study.”
Information for the infographic:
Higher education challenges in the admission process at state-owned academic institutions include:
1. High school students with average less than 70% in the literacy sections can’t be admitted to undergraduate programs.
2. High school students who achieved an average that meets admission criteria (70%), but failed to meet English proficiency required scores (CEPA-English 150 or equivalent).
3. 30% of students enrolled in the Foundation Year program are unable to pass.
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