Sunday 26 March 2023 - 11:18:14 pm

WAM Report: UAE leading the way in AI education

ABU DHABI, 16th October, 2019 (WAM) -- The United Arab Emirates is leading nations in utilising artificial intelligence, AI, and disruptive technologies to create a smarter, more innovative governance environment that is enabled to explore future opportunities and risks.

Following the announcement of the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence - the world's first AI university to open in the nation's capital, Abu Dhabi - WAM takes a look at how the UAE has taken on the challenges imposed by rapidly advancing technologies via its strategies to enable an AI-versed nation.

The UAE Government first launched the 'UAE Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031' in 2017, marking a post-mobile government phase reliant on various future services, sectors and infrastructure projects that utilise AI technologies. The strategy is the first of its kind in the region and the world and aims to not only achieve the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071 but also create world leaders in AI by 2031. It seeks to engage AI across multiple sectors, including education, transportation, energy, space and technology.

According to the UAE Artificial Intelligence website, AI technologies will hold a global market value of US$15.7 trillion in 2030, boosting the UAE's GDP by 35 percent ($96 billion in GDP). Utilising AI technologies, UAE AI adds, will reduce government spending costs by up to 50 percent, or approximately $3 billion in savings.

Supporting the 2031 Strategy is the National Programme for Artificial Intelligence, BRAIN - a comprehensive and consolidated compilation of resources that highlight the advances in AI and robotics.

UAE human capabilities advancing AI sector: With the rapidly changing technology environment, the UAE recognises the importance behind enabling individuals' skill-sets and responsibilities conducive to the advancing AI tech-landscape. Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, affirmed this, adding that the country has the necessary expertise and human resources to advance the Artificial Intelligence, AI, sector globally.

He added that around 20 Emirati students are studying this technology in leading international universities in the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.

Dr. Al Falasi told the Emirates News Agency, WAM, that Emirati students studying specialist academic programmes, including computer sciences and AI, will be capable of leading the country’s efforts in the AI sector and providing the country’s education system with the latest technological knowledge.

Including AI in higher education programmes and advanced skills systems is a necessity, as it will benefit the community and the private and public sectors, the Minister continued, adding that AI has become a cornerstone of the development of various industries in the UAE and around the world.

"The world is investing in AI applications, and due to the vision of its leadership, the UAE has accomplished significant achievements in this race," he stressed.

"The education system in the UAE is prioritising this leading technology, and we are keen, through the implementation of the National Higher Education Strategy and the National Advanced Skills Programme Strategy, to train Emiratis and provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills to keep pace with the latest developments in this area," Dr. Al Falasi added.

Through its various strategies, programmes and initiatives, the UAE government is ensuring that the youth of today are provided with quality education, gaining digital literacy to equip them for the future labour market. Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, reiterated that including artificial intelligence in the education system will reinforce the skills of students and enable them to meet the needs of the future labour market.

The AI Minister told WAM that the Ministry of Artificial Intelligence is cooperating with relevant national authorities to raise the awareness of the entire community about AI technologies. He noted the launch of the AI Camp Initiative, in cooperation with many academic institutions, including the Higher Colleges of Technology, HCT, and public and private schools, which aim to teach school and university students the subjects of AI, programming and robotics.

He also noted the launch of the Artificial Intelligence Academy by the HCT, in partnership with the National Artificial Intelligence Programme, stressing that adopting AI will advance the country’s education system and motivate students to think and innovate.

Another education initiative includes the UAE Artificial Intelligence Internship. Launched in 2018, the internship will see 500 Emirati students train and gain necessary skill-sets so that they play a pivotal role in improving the efficiency of government organisations to an 80 percent rating, and achieve a cost reduction of up to 45 percent, equivalent to millions of dollars.

"Currently, information is transferred through continents to everyone in a matter of moments, which poses risks to our children. We have a duty to prepare them for global competition and supply them with knowledge in advanced sciences, such as AI," he noted.

Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, reiterated the importance of AI education, noting that academic institutions around the world are committed to adopting artificial intelligence, as they aim to create a sustainable and innovative educational environment.

In a statement to WAM, Al Hammadi said that the Ministry of Education aims to implement the country’s AI vision, adding that the nation’s directives and future agenda focus on reinforcing of these trends, and noting that the ministry is exerting significant efforts to empower future generations and supply them with advanced AI skills.

Al Hammadi stressed that the ministry has prioritised AI and integrated it into the UAE’s modern education system, and focusses on promoting the role of AI in developing the skills of Emirati students in mathematics, physics and science. It also adopted a curriculum dedicated to robotics and AI, by constructing 73 robotics labs in Emirati schools and organising local robotics competitions, he further added.

The UAE aims to develop the AI sector on the national level, by drafting a long-term AI strategy and creating an AI Ministry, as well as adopting related indexes in all governmental institutions and employing AI technology in its work, he explained.

The ministry previously revealed that it will adopt an AI curriculum to keep pace with the country’s future vision, and has launched six smart platforms for integrating technology into the education system.

These platforms are part of the integrated educational school systems which aim to educate students about 21st-century digital skills. Some 592 schools with over 275,000 students and 21,000 teachers will use the platform.

WAM/Nour Salman