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20 November, 2005

UAE education officially rubbish

Good old Sheikh Nahyan, one of the UAE's most strongly spoken and progressive ministers, tells it like it is:

"We know that our public schools are not performing to international standards. As a result, our children are not being prepared for higher education, for work or for the roles they will play in the future of their country.

"About a third of our budget for higher education is spent on teaching students the skills they should have already learned in secondary schools.

"This is a terrible waste of money and time."

Nahyan also admits international help is needed:

"We fully recognise that the quality of our education system requires global awareness and co-operation. As we seek to improve our education system at every level, we will continue to look for the assistance of foreign participants in the sector."

This time, let's hope they seek that foreign help further afield than Egypt, whose pro-rote-learning, anti-critical-thinking education system is currently in place here.



Blogger sandsOfTime said...

Ahhh those Egyptian "teachers", how I remember them well. I am surprised at how bitter I still feel regarding my eight years in the schools here before doing my highschool abroad. We used to burn our books at the end of each year in huge fires in the desert.

Al-Nahyan has his work cut out for him because he will have to clear out the Ministry of Education of all the fossils and trash that has accumulated over the years before he can make any progress on reforms. Actually, this probably applies to most federal government departments in the nation.

20 November, 2005 09:33  
Blogger Emirati said...

Its time for him to do some firing, tear through that beauraucracy, do some more recruitment of more qualified people and begin a privatization campaign.

20 November, 2005 13:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe for education to further itself the acceptance of cheating, bribing and begging for one more chance in the classroom has to stop. Until the culture places more responsibilty on the indiduals and less on insh'allah no one will take the time to do a better job.

20 November, 2005 15:22  
Blogger BuJ said...

privatisation doesn't always work (e.g. look at the thatcher years in the UK)..

TWO thumbs up for Sheikh Nahyan.. we need more people like him on the top.

20 November, 2005 15:26  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...



20 November, 2005 17:27  
Blogger samuraisam said...

unfortunately for myself, as a product of the UAE's education system, i agree with sheikh nahyan's synopsis of the education system.

20 November, 2005 18:47  
Blogger qadi said...

No, keep the natives dumb: then they'll have to pay sahib's like i am six figures to do all that hard work for them.

20 November, 2005 20:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not wishing to hijack a thread, nor seem overly jingoistic I apologise for the following but:
I think.. if it wasn't for the Maggie Thatcher years then the Uk would be in a bit of bother these days. Clarification - I agree she went off at the deep at the end - so it was best she went, however if she hadn't had the balls, and no-one else did then or know, to address the problems of the country then I think it would be in a bad state today. And just as a matter of record I'm a labour supporter, but then I guess Tony is a thatcherite anyway. Ok head below parapet.

20 November, 2005 21:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should have added that with regard to the education system Sheihk Nayhan is spot on. Until there is a system of educating people in critical thinking and allowing those educated persons to critically think and express themselves in a free and open society then there is little hope for the local populace in any other society other than their own where positive discrimination will give them a job where they will be carried by the efforts of those around them. Positive discrimination in this society is good because the locals have to be allowed to run their own country, they should however be educationally capable, it is a responsibility of a good education minister. Mabrouk Shk N

20 November, 2005 21:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shiekh Nayan was until a year ago Minister of Higher Education, now his a remit encompasses Education as a whole. This must have come as quite a shock, as his statements suggest.

Will the UAE government front the money that is required to modernize and continue to support the Education system? Shiekh Nayan needs the cash to support his vision.

20 November, 2005 21:57  
Blogger samuraisam said...

once income tax becomes a harsh reality, which it will, it's only a matter of time, then they will have big bucks to spend on it.

the UAE govt has plenty of spare change at the moment, if they can buy madame tussads they can spend a hellofalot more on education, especially when it's directly going to benefit the future of the UAE

20 November, 2005 22:01  
Blogger _sublime_ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

20 November, 2005 22:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Until there is a system of educating people in critical thinking and allowing those educated persons to critically think and express themselves in a free and open society then there is little hope for the local populace in any other society other than their own where positive discrimination will give them a job where they will be carried by the efforts of those around them. Positive discrimination in this society is good because the locals have to be allowed to run their own country, "

I have been amused by how Western educational system is always considered superior than the others. So basically anyone whose first language is not English is handicapped then. Thinking critically means you are more inclined to rebel. Besides, it is interesting how even women are well-educated, sometimes more than men, they are still being asked to be submissive. The ones with too much opinions end up getting divorced without much of a chance of remarriage. Men usually do not want older women. So in both ways, women lose.

21 November, 2005 05:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reality is that American and British educational System rule the world. We all have to cater to their standards. We are the gullible, ignorant, and obedient undereducated pupils( bit sounding like Edward Said`s "Orientalism" here) If they have upper hands, they obviously will have superior complexes, don’t they?

I met one American recently and although he had an (Asian) girlfriend next to him, he put his arm on my shoulder-and it was my first encounter with him!
Someone has to tell them that just because they are Caucasian men, we do not necessary want to cuddle with them! In their countries, they are all caucasions-so the color of their skin certainly is not an indicator of anything.

My question is that if he were Tony Blair or Gore, would he behave in this way? Clinton, I do not know...but am sure he is certainly more careful now!

My another question is; would he behave this way if he were to meet another girl from his country? I am not sure, maybe, but if he felt "more confident" to behave this way in Eastern countries, then he should realize that being an gentleman shows good upbringing regardless of the color of the skin!

21 November, 2005 07:04  
Blogger qadi said...

UAE will be rubbish in 50 years, and by 100 years it'll return to where it began: a filthy port for the leftovers of gujurat.

That's why the rich natives invest so heavily in the West, buying anything with a modicum of potential: they fundamentally have no faith in their own country, as they know they are trammeled by their own culture.

You need an Ataturk to move on. You can't have it both ways.

21 November, 2005 07:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have been amused by how Western educational system is always considered superior than the others. So basically anyone whose first language is not English is handicapped then. Thinking critically means you are more inclined to rebel."

I don't think I said anything about Western education or First languages - that is an assumption by you, maybe Freud would question why you came to that conclusion, it always amuses me that the East West arguement is brought up, I think many cultures have invested in modern educational ideals and benefit accordingly.
My main point is that this country is an Arab country and rightly should be run by them for the good of themselves and those who live in it, in order to do that a majority of them have to be well educated with a global outlook or else they run the risk of failing themselves and those around them - read the blog below, not me by the way, history will show you that countries run by families and their bourgousie will eventually fail as the population increases AND becomes better educated. IF I was cynical, and I don't include the UAE in this assertion, I would say that it is possible some family run States do not want their populace to be educated for reasons of wealth and power, just look at the near East for examples.
As for the Women thing I think I probably agree with you, Women should be given equal rights and treated equally, luckily that's a battle won in my world by the Emily Pankhursts who lived in and still live in it, you will have to fight your own battle, it will not be given to you. I would add to do that you need to be well educated.
And the divorce issue - too big for my intellect I'm afraid.
Best wishes.

21 November, 2005 10:19  
Blogger secretdubai said...

It's "western" countries that are advanced - which includes (non-white, non-European, non-geographically-western) places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea.

"Thinking critically means you are more inclined to rebel."

And therein lies our entire cultural difference. We "westerners" believe intellectual rebellion is a good thing: otherwise we'd still be accepting church doctrine that the earth is flat.

People who categorise rebellion as intrinsically negative are basically backward. They've been bred to be unquestioning, subservient, non-thinking sefts. It's probably too late for their minds to evolve, given how learning ability diminishes after childhood, but there is hope for the future generation.

Which is why we should all thank god that people like Sheikh Nahayan are now in charge of the development of young minds.

21 November, 2005 12:00  
Blogger kingfisher said...

A school serves its community.

If the community has low expectations, the school will reflect this.

21 November, 2005 16:07  
Blogger hdastoor said...

The same goes with UAE medical university in Alain.
They need to develop an American Residency like program to train national doctors.Currently they are being trained on an old British stlye system.These docs will never survive in a real world hospital.The residents take some lousy MRCP,or Canadian board has no value and is passed with rote learning and no hands on experience.The residents miserably fail USMed licence Exam.
Shaikh Nahyhan,if u read this give me the job of training these residents i can assure u that in 1 year i will outperform and raise the level of UAE Medical college..Guranteed

21 November, 2005 17:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"People who categories rebellion as intrinsically negative are basically backward."-well being forward is not 100% wonderful either. Being old-fashioned is also quite wonderful, especially when it comes to family values. I think it was a European saying-something like, when you are 20 and you are not a leftie, you have no soul-but then when you are 40 and you are still like that, you have no brain(!) I am not sure about the exact proverb, though.

21 November, 2005 17:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old fashioned anonymous -

George Bernard Shaw said something like "the reasonable man adjusts himself to the realities of the world. the unreasonable man demands that the world adjusts itself to him. therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

your thoughts?

21 November, 2005 18:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To those ungrateful lot who seem to think that they are somehow superior to the locals in brain power, motivation, etc.: Take your hate elsewhere.

I am amazed at the amount of hate that comes out of people.. truly, I am. I'm not a UAE national, but I have never felt this total disregard to the people of the country of which I live. I find your attitudes completely despicable.

There is a very big difference from those offering critiques about certain aspects of life here in the UAE and those who think that they have a right to claim that everything about the locals is a laughable issue. For those types of people, really, head to the airport with a one-way ticket out of here. You give us, other expats, a bad name.

As for the educational system in the UAE -- I think it would be very well worth considering the credit system instituted by Kuwait first and then Bahrain. I am a product of this system (when it was first implemented) in Bahrain. I would have to say that the system is pretty decent and consider myself to be well educated -- no regrets.

However, if the system here is anything like that in Qatar, then oh dear.. I hope most locals can afford to go to private schools, cause that will get you nowhere.

21 November, 2005 21:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

those egyptian (female) teachers were vicious - they would brawl!
I wonder if they were as violent in bed..hmm

22 November, 2005 02:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mohamed Elzubeir, I did not know that Qatar had a bad education system. With all the talk of the Education City...

22 November, 2005 08:09  
Blogger sandsOfTime said...

Anonymous. Keep in mind that there is a huge gulf (pun not intended) between primary and secondary school (Grades 1-12) and at the university level. The education at the university level is decent (nothing fancy though) and was set up much later. The primary and secondary schooling systems where setup at a time when most locals were illiterate. Hence the bar for being educated was drawn at being able to read and write. Also, it was setup at a time when Pan Arabism was at its height and Egypt was exporting its culture like mad. Pan Arabism died, but the educational system spawned from it still survives.

22 November, 2005 08:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am posting late thanks to our lovely Etisalat who decided to take down our connection while they worked for several days on an ATM problem. *yuck* As an expat with kids in the "private" school system, who came from one of the western enlightened countries, the private schools here are really pretty bad and over priced. There is no security within the walls of the school for students, or staff; kids roam the halls and wreck havoc at will, and schools tolerate it because said monsters pay their tuition and fees on time. Each school is immersed in the "curriculum of the day", using the cut and paste method of supplying students with school materials. I am not impressed at all with the private schools here. The UAE public school system could clean up on education if they put even a modicum of effort into the task. Expats really have no room to be condescending when it comes to their educational system here in the UAE. It sucks big time.

23 November, 2005 12:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jingoism is the insidious bane of the Arab community. Good *fucking* luck growing up and breaking out of the cocoon.

04 August, 2008 16:06  

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