Since 2008, the UAE has participated in many international tests to benchmark the performance levels of its education system. PISA+ in 2009, TIMSS in 2011 and PIRLS in 2011 have seen the UAE ranked as the top performing Arab country. These tests cover reading (PIRLS and PISA), Mathematics (PISA and TIMSS) and science (PISA and TIMSS).
These outcomes are the result of a sustained government investment in education, which represent the largest share of the Federal budget. A budget of AED 7.28 bn has been allocated to education in 2013, representing a 4% increase over 2008. These financial resources have allowed the government to focus on the professional development of teachers (12,541 were trained in 2011, compared to 7,556 in 2009), the building of new public schools (1,276 in 2012 vs. 1,183 in 2008, an almost 8 percent increase) and the move towards new technologies to improve student outcomes. This improved education environment is now serving 269,175 students in public schools and 814,729 students overall, 19% more than in 2008.