The Hiring Process of Principals in Public Schools in the United Arab Emirates: Practices and Policies

Fatima AlShehhi, Khadeegha Alzouebi


This study aims to explore the current selection practices of school principals in the Ministry of Education in the United Arab Emirates. The study covers three main objectives: to investigate the current practices and policies regarding the recruitment of school principals in public schools in the UAE; to explore how the Ministry of Education equips school principals for leadership positions; and to survey school principals’ views on recruitment and training and their on-going professional development needs. Currently there are three main stages in the recruitment process: the first stage is to submit an online application, the second stage is the interview, and the third stage is undergoing a probation period as a school principal. A significant finding was that school principals at present are not satisfied with the current recruitment process and see it in need of change. Thus some recommendations made in this study are presented based on the research findings and school principals’ reflections and experiences. School principals felt they would benefit from more specialized training in leadership and management skills, as well as, visits to successful schools both in the United Arab Emirates and overseas. One important recommendation was to develop a new academic diploma focusing on management and leadership skills for school principals, a ‘Principalship Diploma’ which covers the fundamental core content, training and requirements for educational leadership and effective performance. School principals play an imperative role in supporting the school, staff, and student performance, and therefore it is extremely important to create a clear, transparent and effective hiring policies in order to hire the most competent, effective and best performing school principals to lead the educational reform process in the United Arab Emirates.


Practice, Policy, School Principal, Recruitment, Educational Leadership, Recruitment, Professional Development, Principalship, Ministry of Education, United Arab Emiratis

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