Career and University Guidance Policy

Career and University Guidance Policy


The Career and University Guidance Policy is developed to help schools support students to transition successfully into postsecondary destinations. Consistent and quality policies, practices and programs will help schools prepare Abu Dhabi students for their future. 

The purpose of this document is to: 

  • Regulate the provision of c high quality career and university (CO) guidance program across schools
  • Identify the institutional, qualification and functional requirements for CU Guidance Counselors
  • Mandate annual evaluations of program effectiveness for ADEK reporting



Career The learning and work journey an individual will undertake in their professional lifetime.
Career and University (CU) Guidance The process of guiding students in exploring the world of work, making informed decisions about their careers, 
discovering alternative learning pathways, and providing support in preparing applications for postsecondary education and careers. 
Career and University (CU) Guidance Counselor An individual who implements the school's CU guidance program by providing advisory and administrative CU guidance counseling services to students.
Cycle A cycle is a stage in the primary and secondary educational process and is classified in Abu Dhabi as the following: Kindergarten (Pre-KG/FS1-KG2/Year1), Cycle 1 (Gl/Y2-GS/Y6), cycle 2 (G6/Y7-G8/Y9) and cycle 3 (G9/YIO-G12/Y13). Private schools teaching Ministry of Education (MOE) curriculum may follow MOE cycles: KG, cycle 1 (Gl-G4), cycle 2 (GS-G8) and cycle 3 (G9-G12). 
Full-time Equivalent (FTE) Total workload equivalent to that of a full-time workload for a position. For example, 1 FTE for a single position may be fulfilled by 1 staff member taking on the entirety of the full-time workload or 2 staff members taking on half of a full-time workload ecch.
Higher Education A type of postsecondary education based on academic learning, leading to a degree/certification issued by a higher education institution (e.g., university, colleges, academies, etc.).
Postsecondary Describes the period that takes place following the completion of secondary school (Cycle 3). Postsecondary options include postsecondary education, employment, sabbaticals, etc.
Postsecondary Education All educational pathways (higher and TVET education) following the completion of secondary school (Cycle 3).
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) A type of postsecondary education based on occupational/technical learning, leading to an award/certification issued by a TVET institution (e.g., technical colleges, polytechnics, etc.).


CU Guidance Program 

Program Requirements: Schools shall implement a CUI guidance program, based on a policy that includes the following: 

  1. Developing a school CU guidance philosophy/approach based on nurturing an early sense of aspiration for postsecondary education and lifelong learning in students 
  2. Fostering awareness of broad career concepts during Cycle 2, and actively supporting student transitions into Cycle 3, where career pathways/concepts can be explored in detail and integrated into postsecondary preparation
  3. Developing workplace-relevant soft skills via in-school activities or external enrichment programs and seminars 
  4. Connecting with the alumni and larger school community to engage with students on CU guidance. The goal should be to create a culture of community engagement, alumni connectedness, mentoring and networking to support the building of workplace-relevant skills 
  5. Orienting students and parents with all possible local and international postsecondary options (including universities, community colleges, foundation programs, academies, TVET, military service and direct employment) 
  6. Providing CU guidance and support to students and parents by employing flexible working arrangements during critical periods such as school holidays. Therefore, schools shall ensure the continuous availability of at least one full-time equivalent (FTE) Cu Guidance Counselor 


CU Guidance Counselor


Schools shall appoint at least one full-time equivalent (FTE) CU Guidance Counselor, as per the target ADEK set for the student-to- counselor ratios in the Career and University Guidance Policy Implementation Guide.


Qualifications and Experience

Schools shall verify that the CU Guidance Counselor meets the following minimum requirements: 

  1. At least a ofE 7 (Bachelor's Degree) in any field AND 2 years' experience in the field of CU guidance OR
  2. A QFE 9 (Master's Degree) in Counseling (Career, College, etc.) or a related subject (ADEK initial training is required for those without prior experience)
  3. Knowledge of international and local postsecondary admissions processes and alternative pathways, career pathways for specific subjects and occupations, and provision of support for gifted students, Students of Determination and those with special educational needs 


Grandfathering provision

Currently employed CU Guidance Counselors who do not meet the minimum requirements shall undergo initial and on- the-job training, as well as additional continuous professional development (CPD, see Section 2.5). They have 0 grace period of 2 years from the date this policy is issued to meet the minimum requirements. However, all new Cu Guidance Counselors employed after the issuance of this policy are subject to meeting the requirements stipulated in Section 2.2 prior to their appointment.

  1. During the 2 -year grace period, schools are permitted to appoint an existing staff member serving in another capacity, upon their written consent, to undertake the role of the CU Guidance Counselor, whether on a full or part-time basis, under the following conditions:

a. The staff member meets the requirements for Cu Guidance Counselor as stipulated in Section 2.2 

> The staff member who does not meet the minimum experience requirements is permitted to be appointed in an acting capacity (as 'Acting CU Guidance Counselor"). They would be required to undergo initial ADEK training and abide by CPD requirements (see Section 2.5) 

b. The staff member's teaching or administrative workload is decreased in proportion to their FTE status to accommodate the additional responsibilities

c. The staff member's title is amended to reflect the additional role (e.g., Vice Principol/Acting Career Counselor, Student Counselor/Career Advisor, Head of Social Studies/College Counselor, etc.). They must be identified as a "Career and University Guidance Counselor" in addition to their own role in PASS. As nomenclature varies by school and curriculum, the responsibilities should be explicit and clear to students, parents and external stakeholders 



In addition to being responsible for the implementation of the school's CU guidance policy and program, the role of the CU Guidance Counselor includes the following responsibilities at a minimum: 

  1. Understanding the career aspirations of each student in Cycle 3, starting in Grade 9/Year 10, and providing guidance on the planning and alignment of their student portfolios to meet these aspirations (e.g., choice of subjects, academic and extracurricular profile, etc.)
  2. Guiding each student to the most suitable or "best-fit" local and international postsecondary options and institutions, based on their career aspirations. This includes ensuring that each student has submitted at least one application to c postsecondary destination
  3. Ensuring that each student meets all graduation requirements relevant to the student's curriculum and in accordance with the MOE equivalency requirements, if applicable
  4. Engaging with parents throughout the entire CU guidance process, all the while emphasizing the importance of student agency in the decision-making process
  5. Providing full administrative support to students in preparation for their postsecondary applications and pathways. Examples include writing recommendation letters, reviewing personal statements and compiling relevant documents (e.g., transcripts, portfolios, attestations, etc.)
  6. Establishing relationships with local postsecondary education institutions to facilitate local opportunities and support for students (e.g., admissions, visits, admissions, internships, partnerships, etc.)
  7. Verifying that destination institutions have reasonable accommodations for any gifted students, Students of Determination and/or those with special educational needs
  8. Organizing CU guidance events and disseminating and maintaining an up-to-date CU guidance calendar of key dates and events as per the requirements in the CU Guidance Program Implementation Guide
  9. Providing CU guidance support to any Cycle 2 student considering alternative pathways for Cycle 3 (e.g., transferring to TVET) 


Continuous Professional Development

Schools shall include the following elements as part of their CU Guidance Counselor's CPD:

  1. Annual membership in at least one professional organization for CU Guidance Counselors, with recommended accountability measures to benefit from the membership 
  2. Completion of at least 25 hours of professional development annually (linked as much as possible to the role), at no cost to staff as per UAE Labor Law, with dedicated days to attend professional development events. All Cu Guidance Counselors shall undergo specific CPD on the provision of CU guidance for gifted students, Students of Determination and/or those with special educational needs 
  3. Access to peers through community groups to avail of local best practices, measures should be in place to safeguard and retain these best practices within the school's CU guidance program 


Monitoring and Evaluation

Internal Monitoring and Evaluation

Schools shall monitor and evaluate their CU guidance program by developing internal qualitative and quantitative indicators and mechanisms to measure the adequate delivery Of the program's services. 


Program Indicators for ADEK Reporting

Schools shall report the following indicators to ADEK annually: 

  1. Student Coverage: The percentage Of students in Cycle 3 (and any in Cycle 2) who are receiving CU guidance 
  2. Counselor-Student Ratio: The number Of students being served by each FTE CU Guidance Counselor 
  3. Graduate Destination: The percentage of graduates of the current academic year entering higher education, TVET or employment by the start Of the following academic year 
  4. Top 3 Destination: The percentage of graduates of the current academic year accepted to ct least one Of their top 3 choices Of postsecondary institutions or employers 



Failure to comply with this policy shall be subject to legal accountability and the penalties stipulated in accordance with the ADEK's regulations, policies, and requirements, notwithstanding any other penalties imposed by Federal Law NO. (3) of 1987 Concerning the Penal Code or any other relevant law. ADEK reserves the right to intervene if the school is found to be in violation of its obligations. 



1. CU Guidance Program Implementation Guide 

2. Federal Law NO. (3) of 1987 Concerning the Penal Code and its amendments 

3. United Arab Emirates School Inspection Framework 2015-2016 
* Clause (5.25) Guidance and Support for All Students 



2022 (July) 

Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), Abu Dhabi 

This policy replaces Policy 53 (Counselling Services) and policy 26 (Licensing and Qualification) on matters related to Cu guidance in the Private School Policy and Guidance Manual 2014-2015.