Monday, November 19, 2007

The public education system

The public education system is an aspect of the UAE society that I have always said needs immediate attention and a drastic overhaul that has been long overdue.

Most people have no idea about what goes on in the public schools here. The list of the system’s shortcomings is so long that I don’t even know where to being. To summarise:-

  • Most schools lack adequate, modern facilities. E.g., labs, computer equipment, sport facilities e.t.c .
  • The curriculum is still based on the rote learning and memorising with hardly any emphasis on critical thought and understanding.
  • The teachers are not trained and updated on the latest teaching methods.
  • The teachers are salaries are terribly low. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
  • The system is not structured in order to output students that are suited to job market requirements. This is a big factor in why many expats view locals as incompetent, lazy workers.

To give you a picture of how poor the standards are, I clearly remember a friend of mine who graduated from a public high school in Dubai and then went on to the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) to study finance. HCT is a government funded and organised tertiary education institution serving the local population. During that time I was in my final years of schooling and I had chosen Economics as one of my subjects in A’ levels ( the British high school system). What was thought to my friend in his 1st year economics subjects at university, was covered in my final years of high school!!

This entire unemployment issue among locals and the resultant emiratisation drive, could be have been reduced if a proactive approach had been taken. Locals who attend public schools are put through an outdated, inefficient system that does not provide them with the right tools and knowledge to meet the requirements of the UAE’s booming job market. I’m just glad that Shiekh Mo has finally addressed this by ordering a complete revamp of the Ministry of Education and the curriculum. Better late than never!