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 Locals who attend public schools are put through an outdated, inefficient system that does not provide them with the right tools and knowledge to meet the requirements of the UAE’s booming job market.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!

8 comments:

nativeinformant said...

Hi Local,

Thanks for this post. I'm trying to work on a chapter right now about how the education system (private) is set up in ways that create national divisions between groups of people, and I think the public/private system is obviously one of the ways in which divisions between citizens and expats continue to be reinforced. A question, though? Do you think more and more wealthy and elite Emiratis are choosing to skip the public schooling and send their kids to private international schools instead? I would guess that this would create some major divisions within the citizen population as well, in terms of class status, Enlgish-language skills, other qualifications, etc...

localexpat said...

oh that is definitely the case. I mean the locals here are not idiots. The wealthy and elite easily have clearly identified the shortcomings of the public education system. Personally, every single local from the higher socioeconomic brackets that i know of sends their kids to private schools( be it Arabic or English).

Regarding the divisions that this might create, I do notice a between someone who attended private school and those who went through the public system..... I think I will elaborate on this further in blog entry within the next few day.

moviemania said...

Good post, LE.

I think the divisions between Emiratis and expats starts here, with the public school system.

Not only that, but the students learn English at the most basic level imaginable! Definitely not at the level a high school graduate needs to be at to function in the UAE, much less university.

There are also a lot of other things that go on in public schools, but that's also another story.

rosh said...

It's not just the academic aspect that needs an overhaul - but various social factors, not just in high schools, but thru to UAE University.

LE, in school, we had 3 locals from Grade 1 thru to Grade 10. MM is spot on, this is where the integration/understading starts.

rosh said...

Happy National Day LE! Here's wishing UAE continued success, peace and souls like you.

rosh said...

Update, phuleazzzeeeee update just about with anything :)

***TinKer BeLL*** said...

Hi =)

I know its an old post, but I had to comment since I an currently working in the public education system, with a private/international background.

There is a huge difference between those who come from private/public schools. Not necessarily a 'negative' difference. I believe that teachers in the public sector need a chance to prove themselves, and most importantly, to be appreciated. YES they might not have enough resources, no funding, no techno...etc. But still there are few who believe in CHANGE, and seek that change through using whatever available resources they have. Still, you can not judge since both sectors have there negatives/positives, but I truely believe that private schools prepare their students better for the job market in terms of English language (or foreign languages), technology, and dealing with people from different cultural backgrounds.

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