Dr. Abdulla Al Karam

Director General of Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority

United Arab Emirates

Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Directors at KHDA, is an engineer by trade, a leader by profession, and an educator at heart.  

He is responsible for the quality and growth of an education sector unlike any other in the world. In Dubai, 153 schools offer 15 different curricula from around the globe. More than 85 percent of all education takes place in the private sector while 58 percent of Emirati parents, who have the option of sending their children to government schools, choose private schools for their children’s education. 

The question Dr. Al Karam and his team seek to answer is how a government authority can make the most of this diversity to transform education for all students.

Dr. Abdulla Al Karam has applied a partnership and collaboration-driven strategy to Dubai’s private schools sector, resulting in improved student outcomes in international assessments such as PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS. 

The KHDA’s What Works initiative challenges the notion that competitors cannot collaborate, and is a unique model regional governments could consider to work with private-sector operators to ensure high-quality education for all students.  

Dr. Al Karam has held a variety of strategic roles across government, including as CEO of Dubai’s Knowledge Village and Head of Research at Internet City.