UAE star pupils tell of surprise call from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

The UAE’s best-performing public school pupils have spoken of the moment Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, personally called them to reveal their results.

Sheikh Mohammed made the surprise phone calls on Tuesday, before the official release of nationwide results the following day.

Sumaya Al Ketbi, 17, an Emirati pupil at Al Ataa School in Abu Dhabi, was first in the general UAE stream, one of several tracks government schools use to educate pupils based on their strengths.

“I did not know I was the country topper and was surprised when Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid called me,” she said.

I will be studying aerospace engineering, possibly at UAE University

Sumaya Abdulla Al Ketbi, Al Ataa School in Abu Dhabi

“I felt happy and excited when he called me. I felt happier about receiving his call than about my grades.”

Ambitious Sumaya plans to pursue a degree in engineering sciences, at a time when there is demand for highly skilled workers.

“I will be studying aerospace engineering, possibly at UAE University,” she said.

Emirates Schools Establishment, the UAE’s public school operator, released Grade 12 exam results on Wednesday.

This year 28,775 pupils at public schools, plus a small number of private schools that follow the Ministry of Education curriculum, sat end-of-year exams and secured a pass rate of 94.4 per cent.

Mozoon Al Ketbi, a 17-year-old Emirati who ranked first in the elite stream, said: “When he called me, I cried. I can’t describe my feelings at that time. It was such a surprise.

“It was such a nice moment that he himself called and told me I’m the first in the country.”

Mozoon, a grade-12 pupil at Falaj Al Moalla girls’ school in Umm Al Quwain, hopes to pursue studies in aerospace engineering at Khalifa University.

Meticulous planning was the key to her exam success, she said.

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