Thursday, 24 Sep 2020 - 6 of Tishri, 5781

Just 2 weeks after the UAE-Israel accord, Emirati textbook teaching about the peace treaty is on the desks of schoolchildren

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A UAE 2020 Islamic Studies textbook praises peace initiative with Israel.

Bolsters the initiative by stating cooperation and peace are fundamental Islamic values and UAE national characteristics.

Uniquely for the region, UAE schools teach a Moral Education curriculum from grades 1-12.  

Separate from religious studies, this stand-alone course incorporates values of peace and tolerance into traditional education system.

A social studies textbook mentions Judaism as belonging in the Arab region.

Israel, The West Bank and Gaza are separately delineated on topological map of Arab world.

Just two weeks after the announcement of the agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to normalize their relations, a textbook teaching about the peace treaty is on the desks of schoolchildren in the Emirates, reported  IMPACT-se, the Jerusalem-based NGO Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education.

The agreement will be signed Tuesday at the White House in Washington.

The UAE Islamic Studies grade 6 textbook includes a passage showing the backing of the Fatwa Council. Dr Muhammad Matar Al Kaabi, Head of the UAE General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments.

He is quoted in the textbook as saying that this ‘‘historic’’ initiative ‘’stems from the values of our true Islamic religion which strive towards building bridges of cooperation.’’

Students are asked to create a presentation on the importance of peace treaties and the UAE’s role in achieving peace. The new section of the textbook also states that the UAE supports efforts towards reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians.
The treaty is not just presented as a fact in the textbook. Students are presented with the religious, ethical and national reasons to support the agreement and employ critical thinking in completing an exercise about the importance of peace-making.

According to IMPACT-se, textbook reform has been an integral part of the country’s push towards modernization and national development. Central within this textbook reform is the Moral Education curriculum, introduced in the UAE in 2016 and taught in grades 1-12.

‘’Clearly, the citizens of a country that teaches peace-making, conflict resolution and the acceptance of the Other at school, will be more likely to embrace peace treaties signed by their leaders,’’ IMPACT-se noted.

The Moral Education Curriculum, reviewed by IMPACT-se, aims at creating a holistic education system that blends personal development and civics with traditional subjects. It is successful in expanding the traditional remit of education and instructs students on their role within society and how to conduct themselves in an ethical manner.
It is made up of four units: character and morality, the individual and the community, cultural studies, and civic studies.

IMPACT-se has reviewed the ‘character and morality’ unit and has found that it meets UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance.

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