Key system challenges identified by the Abu Dhabi Education Council provided the impetus for an aggressive strategic plan as necessary guidance and support for the development of the P-12 education system to contribute to advancing its positioning in the global knowledge economy. For the Abu Dhabi Education Council, the analysis served as a tool to assess the education system and to develop strategies to transform it into an internationally competitive model. The strategic plan was built on a thorough analysis of the organisation's existing environment, culture, structure, governance, staff, programme or service mix, collaborations and resources. Some of the major evidence-based challenges included student performance below grade levels, teacher quality, and the English proficiency of students when entering higher education and then the job market, along with other challenges. The strategic plan focused on elevating school quality to international standards, improving opportunities in P-12 education, providing students with affordable options of high-quality private education, and helping learners to contribute positively to society by preserving national identity and the local culture and developing successful careers. A major outcome of the reform process called for pursuing a bilingual education system with balanced emphasis on both Arabic and English. As a result, a strategy of recruiting native English speakers was sought. A careful analysis of school efficiency led to many school mergers. The efficiency of schools was related to class capacities and utilisations, and the optimum utilisation of teachers and school administrators. The article also provides a summary of some of the outcomes after two years of implementing the strategic plan.
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