UAE Culture

The United Arab Emirates is a federal state that consists of seven emirates, where each of which is being represented by a microstate with absolute monarchy. It is an amazing country. It is surprising that even despite the rapid urbanization and all the typical modern life external and internal changes, the country is managed to maintain and to blend in the present day unique traditions and customs of the Arab culture.

Culture and traditions of the UAE residents are defined by their religion is Islam. Nevertheless the rather dramatic change in the political system, the economy, and way of life all the laws of Mohammed are honoured as before.

An important role is assigned to the formation of education in the UAE. Even in ancient times Arabs were highly literate. To replace mustafas, individual coaches, were organised schools, colleges and universities (King, 2008). Schools are established for boys and girls separately. Primary education in the UAE is free and compulsory; secondary education is optional. There is a program for adult education to combat illiteracy in the state. The country has seven universities and colleges, including the University of the UAE and Zayed University for Women.

The United Arab Emirates is young and fast growing country. The UAE economy is based on re-exports, trade, production and export of crude oil and gas. Crude oil production is about 2.2 million barrels a day; its biggest amount is produced in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Recently, the share of revenues from the extraction and refining of oil in GDP decreases, due to government measures to diversify the economy (Rizvi, 1993). At the same time, value of other economic sectors in the structure of GDP is increasing, including the construction, trade, tourism and agriculture. In 2011, GDP in the UAE reached $268 billion.

In order to understand how the education and economy in the UAE has changed in last years, it is necessary to compare them in the table that is drawn below.

Table 1. Comparison of education and economics in past times and now (“United Arab Emirates (The UAE) Economic Statistics and Indicators,” n.d.)



Till 1970





Main sources of income for the local people were herding, fishing and selling pearls.

Since 1970, the economy has started to grow rapidly because of oil and gas export, and tourism development. In 1980, the GDP was $40 billion.

In 2000, GDP was $104 billion. Gross product per capita in the UAE, in 2001, was 21,100 dollars. The share of economy sectors in GDP: 46% for industry, 51% - in services and 3% for agriculture.

In 2011, GDP in the UAE reached $268 billion. In 2012, GDP has grown to $360 billion, and GDP per capita is $48,158. The GDP by sector in 2010 was 0.9% for agriculture, 55.5% for industry and 36.6% for services.


The first private schools in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah were discovered in the early 1900s, where operated small study groups in mosques. The first British school with teachers from Arab countries was opened in Sharjah, in 1953. First own system of education was established in Abu Dhabi in early 1960.

Education issues have become one of the priorities in the government programs after creating the UAE. In the period 1971-1978, the cost of education is second in the federal budget. The Act provides for compulsory secondary education to the UAE nationals. Higher education, like primary and secondary, is free for all citizens of the UAE.

According to the UN, the number of literate population in 2003 was 77.9% (76.1% men, 81.7% women). The country has seven universities and colleges, including the University of the UAE and the Zayed University for Women established in 1998.

Schools are organised for boys and girls separately. There is a program of adult education to combat illiteracy. Nowadays there are more than 19 educational establishments in the UAE.

The changes in the UAE life have become because of the export and tourism development of the country. The strict and rapid growth of the state prevented to the development of all aspects of the economy; in particular, tourism (level of service is very high), and construction. Naturally, I went to the mountain, and trade, and agriculture. People from poorer countries started coming to the UAE in search of a better life. All this has given the economy a new stage of development. Interaction of the country with the developed countries brought the globalization into the life of Emirates. This process has influenced all the country from its traditions and culture till trade and day to day life. Therefore, it is important to stress that the changes in the economy and education in the United Arab Emirates took place because of two powers: globalization and economic growth of the country.

Changes because of economic growth are essential for all countries, and they are crucial for future development of the state. Powerful changes in the economy of the UAE were done because of the effective and efficient policy of the country’s administration concerning the distribution of income and effective government investments. Attention also deserves the rational use of profits from oil sales. First, all the emirates receive an equal amount of money raised by its exports, no matter how many "black gold" is there in each of them. Second, the profit is invested in the infrastructure of the UAE, in education and health. In addition, everyone in the country gets a huge subsidy on different occasions. The UAE has a flexible system of all grants and subsidies. Education, health, training citizens of the Emirates funded at a very good level. Residents have a good chance to find a job on education, may be eligible for social assistance in completely different situations. The education system is paid so much attention because government understands that the future is after the technologies.

Despite that economic growth has a positive impact on the UEA development; globalization has both positive and negative narrows. The biggest positive effect of the indicated process for the UAE as touristic country is the creation of a single economic space, the presence of single visa controls, the simplified search of criminals and facilitating economic ties. This helps to develop tourism in the country more rapidly, as a result, strengthening and enhancing the relationship between the various states and countries, the establishment of a more coherent system of ensuring global security. Positive effect of globalization in the economy of the UAE can be seen in high-speed data transmission, instant movement of various investment and free trade, tax cuts, and reduced labor costs and natural resources, an increase in consumer loans, etc. If to talk about culture, the positive aspect is a convergence of business and consumer culture, the growing level of international communication. However, globalization processes have also negative impact for UAE: many manufactured goods lose their affiliation to the national product; as a result, competitiveness of national firms is decreased; considering the culture it can be talked about the possibility of loss of national identity traditions, "depersonalization" of the people (Schwab, 2003). It is easy to understand that for the economy and education of UAE globalisation gives more advantages than disadvantages, but the culture of the country can suffer.

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In order to keep the unique culture of the UAE, the government should pay attention to this problem. The United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country; and Koran is a very important object of the day-to-day life of every Arab person on the Emirates. People in the UAE are very religious and value their traditions; therefore, the globalisation would not have a huge impact for the national culture of the country. However, the liberalization of some Muslim laws had taken place, and it was done because of the development of the country.

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