Female Emirati Teachers’ Perceptions of Postgraduate Degree Attainment in the UAE


While the Emirati government continues to make great strides in encouraging female Emirati citizens to become public school teachers and educational leaders, the change process has been slow. According to the most recent data, there is a severe shortage of female Emirati postgraduates, especially in the education field, limiting qualified female Emirati leadership. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government calls for more female leaders in all fields, including education. Despite the UAE’s attempts to encourage women to obtain a secular graduate-level education and become educational leaders, the response has been minimal. Lack of female educational leadership both inside and outside of school walls may cause more stress on the country’s education system because students may not receive adequate knowledge regarding Emirati culture and values in school. Participants felt that foreign teachers and educational leaders are unable to model or provide sufficient cultural awareness education to the students. This qualitative study was comprised of interviews with 13 female Emirati teachers who desire to obtain a postgraduate degree in education but have yet to complete the task. The study examined the female Emirati teachers’ perceptions of the factors that inhibit them from obtaining a postgraduate degree in education in Abu Dhabi. The findings show that understandings of culture and religious obligations  play a major role in the Emirati women’s decision to go to graduate school and ultimately become leaders in the country. This finding is of major importance to Emirati social and education policy contexts for continued encouragement of Emirati women to get postgraduate degrees and become leaders in the UAE.


Female teachers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Women in education, Emirati women and advanced degree attainment, Perceptions of barriers to degree attainment, Cultural, religious, and family connections to degree attainment

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