UAE’s national identity revolves around heritage and culture, and there is a deep awareness of the necessity to preserve the indigenous culture on which Emirates society is based. The UAE’s aim is to bridge the past with the future with the help of high quality arts and humanities education, teaching the rising younger generations the ability to think critically and creatively as a vital component to innovation. There is also a renewed emphasis on the evolution of art and creativity in a region that has traditionally focused more on the spoken word than other forms of artistic expression. In particular, there are some exciting developments taking place in the arts at a government level. The private sector is growing and young Emiratis are laying claim to their artistic future, expressing themselves in a way that reflects the enormous cultural diversity of the UAE and the region. Arts and humanities could potentially be the needed component to nurture the country into a unique cultural hub and create leaders. This essay will argue in order for the UAE to further develop, it is critical to integrate arts and humanities into the common abbreviation STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), in hopes that the youth will gain the skill of analytical and strategic thinking.
Analytical, Critical and Strategical thinking skills alongside cross-cultural understanding are best obtained through arts and humanities education. Social and civil development cannot excel by technology solely. Leaders must be exposed to this type of education because analytical skills play a significant role in leadership. Computer programs cannot replace certain skills such as understanding cultural context and sensitivities as well as experiential learning and reflection.
High quality arts and humanities education teaches students to read widely and absorb ideas from across geographies, industries and perspective, then consider, analyse and form a judgement about what they have read. This ability to think critically and creatively is the key to unlocking innovation — and it is why arts and humanities education is crucial for everyone from kindergarteners to Stem Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics postgraduates.
Deep understanding of society and cultural issues, and the ability to absorb and analyse information about complex situations, are crucial skills for success in the modern world. Strong arts and humanities education is critical to instill them in the UAE’s next generations.