Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Friday, November 9, 2007

Fujairah Schools Receive Bad Report

H.H. Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai recently said on ABC's 60 Minutes that his goal is that Dubai and the UAE become first in the world in every good thing. It is clear, however, that the UAE has a long way to go toward reaching that goal in the sphere of education.

There is an alarming series of articles in the Gulf News this month that highlight the poor facilities (low budgets, a lack of basic facilities, inadequate air-conditioning, overcrowded classrooms) that exist in many UAE schools, especially in areas outside of the two main cities.

One Fujairah School
According to one statement, a school in Fujairah (before the appointment of its latest Principal) would have received a School Report like this:

* Basic Necessities-Fail
* Projectors and Video Equipment-Fail
* Laboratory Equipment-Fail
* Water Coolers-Fail—Not Applicable (Since this report the Red Crescent has come to the rescue)
* Sports Hall-Fail—Not applicable because this is non-existent. The School Yard is often too hot for Sports Education and for students to play at morning break and lunch time.
* Air Conditioners-Fail
* Door Handles-Fail—All are broken
* Financial Resourcing Fail. This is hopelessly inadequate. The school needs at least 300,000 Dhs to bring it to an acceptable standard
* School Principal-A+ Recently arrived and is doing an excellent job bringing the school into the twentieth century [one century at a time]. She spent the entire budget in the first two days on improving the basics.

General Comments
This school and many others in Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah are well below par. A Ministry of Education official recently said that several schools in these two emirates were deemed unsafe and had to be closed down.

Schools that are unsafe! Schools in a country where temperatures reach the mid to late 40s having to depend on the Red Crescent to provide them with water coolers!

H.H. Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai established in May 2007 the ‘Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation’ with an endowment of $10 billion and then he announced last month a number of goals to enhance education in the UAE and the Arab world.

Many of these goals relate to tertiary education but the Shaikh said this in his speech to the ‘Knowledge Symposium’:

“In the implementation of all projects and programmes, the Foundation will accept nothing less than the best of international standards in production, quality, and performance.”

Developing education at the tertiary level will be in vain unless the foundations of learning in the UAE are made world class at the primary and secondary levels. The grave issue that currently exists, in which many UAE children go to schools with low grade facilities and who study in an environment that is not conducive to learning and encouraging a zest for education, must be urgently addressed.

It was first said centuries ago in the Middle East that one must ‘go the second mile’. The alarming school report from Fujairah is a timely reminder that in all spheres, including education, one must go the first mile before one can go the second mile.

Geoff Pound

Image: Alarming Report Card on UAE Schools

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The school facilities must be a part of a federal system in the United Arab Emirates with qualified management and experienced labor that can build and maintain facilities according to national standards. It is the duty of the wealthy emirates to take care of the poor ones. After all they are all citizens of the United Arab Emirates.
Similar systems can be made for electronic supplies and furniture, text books, transportation and other fields.