Latest studies show that education in Dubai is marking an improvement compared to previous years. According to a report made by the Dubai School Inspections Bureau (DSIB), half of the students in Dubai receive quality education. The report also highlights the fact that quality education is now available for nearly 100,000 students in Dubai mostly at “outstanding” and “good” rated schools which are most expensive. That is about 60,000 more people compared to 2008. In addition, students showed some reasonable progress in subjects like English, Arabic, Islamic Studies, science.
Yet, there are some disturbing statistics about the education in Dubai. The average level of students in math is estimated to be under the 500 global average. Read more: Dubai students’ TIMSS score still below international average.
But what leads to these poor results?
In this article we will examine some of the key problems in education in Dubai. Also, we will offer a few possible solutions to these problems.
Schools Need to Develop Students’ Thinking Skills
One of the key issues in the Dubai’s education is students’ inability to use logic to solve problems. Moreover, many students have problems putting their thoughts into words and explaining themselves.
That is mainly due to the fact that students in Dubai schools have a very passive role in the learning process. Most of the time, teachers “lecture” their lessons and they don’t encourage student participation. Also, students rarely write longer texts or even full sentences. Most of the textbooks and schoolbooks they use require only the filling of separate words and phrases. This so in the most of British schools. A notable exception is Chouiefat, where students write long stories until today.
In addition, in most of the schools in Dubai reading lists are not aplicable, not during the school terms, nor during the holidays. There are very few writing competitions, if any. Teachers conveniently forget to provide reading lists. Read more here: Why Reading Lists are Important and Where to Find Them
To change that, teachers need to involve their students in various discussions or give them writing assignments in class or for homework. At present, at the majority of the British schools teachers recommend various websites for home studies and that is all. In addition, students should do more projects and tasks that require research. In that way, they will learn to paraphrase and use new vocabulary. Students should be writing reports and referats in order to improve their logical thinking abilities.
More Parental Involvement
More and more schools in Dubai encourage parental involvement in school and learning activities which is natural. However, many still fail to follow this practice. As a result, the participation of parents in school life and education process is underdeveloped.
This is a big downside for the education in the region. Studies show that parental involvement leads to better examinations results, as well as better overall performance. Also, children, whose parents are actively involved in their school activities, showed a progress of over 15% in subject like reading and mathematics.
Therefore, schools need to find a way to inform parents about the benefits of their involvement in education. In addition, institutions need to encourage and stimulate parents’ support.
From a contrarian point of view, especially private schools are requesting so outrageously high amounts as tuition fees that many parents wonder why they have to pay if they are supposed to study with their children at home.
New Teaching and Learning Methods
Teaching methods in over 60% of the schools in Dubai are found to be unsatisfactory. Moreover, the teachers show limited knowledge on the subjects they teach. In public schools, the teachers who have insufficient knowledge amount to 58%. The situation in private schools is not much different. There only half of the staff involved in the teaching and learning processes has enough knowledge. Yet, parents pay extremely high school fees. The result is that many students don’t have access to quality education competitive on international level.
For the problem to be solved, schools need examine teachers before they hire them. Also, schools should use, but not overuse, more learning tools like technology, games and presentations. Schools must try to offer something new and interesting to their students.
Change in the Curriculum
Today, school curriculums involve a huge amount of material. That forces teachers to cover many topics in a very short time, because the holidays in Dubai are too many. Actually, that is namely what leads to the passive role of the students. The subject content needs to be reduced and there should be more emphasis on developing skills like thinking and understanding in students. Also, children need to have more choice in their learning. In addition, schools should add increase the physical education by offering after-school sport activities and training. But this should be moderately, as some schools as Repton for example emphasize more on the sports activities than on the learning process.
More Insight on Assessment
Most of the schools in Dubai don’t inform parents about their children’s performance or what they can do to help them. Moreover, they don’t even provide this information to the students. That is because not many schools have a good tracking system. Therefore, it is advisable for institutions to invest more into technology and software that can cover this gap. Also, teachers need to inform their students about their objectives and performance. Parents too need to have access to this data.
Despite the improvement over the last four years, education in Dubai still needs tremendous amount of extra work. The bad news is that this work covers far too many vital areas to be done in short amount of time.