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11 Aug 2021
Strategic Trends Series (7)

The Challenges of Developing an Inclusive Curriculum for Gifted Students in the UAE

H.E. Maqsoud Kruse

Abstract

Several initiatives have been taken to develop a National Plan for Giftedness in the UAE. However, the central challenge is the absence of a gifted education policy that is rigorous, structured, and coherent. Despite the diversity of identification systems, the UAE has witnessed a growing interest in giftedness that has generated streams of academic research, examining the opportunities and challenges. An increasing interest in giftedness within the educational sector and educational researchers notwithstanding, there are no agreed-upon unified definitions of giftedness or standardized identification systems of giftedness.

While special education is included for students across academic institutions in the UAE, gifted education is almost non-existent on its own. This paper argues that it is essential to develop such streams of specialization either as a sub-branch of the wider special education stream or as a sub-branch on its own under education. Equally important are steps such as building professional development programs and certification opportunities to fill the professional gap in licensure, qualifications, certifications, and employability. Gifted education is very recent and limited in terms of its existing academic programs or professional applications.

Hence, academic programs are needed alongside more associations and professional societies to foster research and education across the country. Careful monitoring of the status of giftedness and gifted education is paramount to the future of the field and to the constructive evaluation process of all the current initiatives and programs that shall contribute enormously to the advancement of gifted learners. Therein lies the need to provide solution-based interventions and generate creative ideas for the future of giftedness and gifted education in the UAE.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maqsoud Kruse is an international writer, public speaker, and a regular guest on a variety of media outlets and publications, CNN, Sky News, Phoenix TV, Abu Dhabi TV, Al Hurra TV, SBS Radio, Sharjah Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The National. Kruse has broad and interdisciplinary interests, including Organizational Psychology and Psychometrics, Educational and Clinical Psychology, Mental Health, Military and Political Psychology, Terrorism and Extremism, Strategic Communication, Political Islam, and Contemporary Arab Thought.

In 2019, Kruse published a chapter in the Arabic book – The Psychological Foundations of Tolerance – published by the Sultan Bin Zayed Center in Abu Dhabi. The same year, he published his paper – Towards A Neurological Model of Giftedness: A Conceptual Perspective – at the 4th International Conference on Educational Neuroscience. His paper – Countering Violent Extremism Strategies in the Muslim World – appeared in The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2016.

He has served as the former Executive Director of Hedayah, The International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, since its establishment in December 2012. Prior to joining Hedayah, he served as the Head of Planning Section and later as the Psychological Affairs Advisor at the Global Aerospace Logistics (GAL), a subsidiary of the Emirates Advanced Investments Group (EAIG).

Before joining GAL, he served in the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, working in various Applied Psychology, Strategic Planning, and Leadership Development settings. Kruse received his Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology from the University of Melbourne in Australia.