Educationhas played a vital role in structuring the society to the way itcurrently is. Schools were therefore built whereby formal learningcould be taught to students. The main aim of these schools was toaffect a holistic knowledge on all aspects of life. These aspectsincluded metaphysics, which mainly focused on the origin andstructure of the physical world around an individual and focused ongiving the individual a better understanding of it. Epistemology isanother aspect that centers on the characteristic and source of thehuman knowledge. These two aspects mainly answered what an individualknows and how they know that information. Logic dealt with reasoningwhereby an individual could arrange facts and come to a validconclusion. Ethics focused on the right and wrong of every action andthoughts of an individual that is based on the society norms.Political philosophy is another aspect that teaches an individual onpast and current societies and how to ensure that in the future onecan help build better societies. Aesthetics taught the individual thevalue of beauty and how to recognize it. All these aspects were usedto create a better individual for the society (Gaad,et al. 2013).Other studies were included such as language and mathematics. Thesewere to be used to enable an individual to know fully how tocommunicate and carry on with their daily lives. With time, it becameapparent that the structured way schools were run was not sufficientin teaching all these knowledge to every student. Some students werefinding difficulties in trying to grasp this knowledge. This broughtabout the need for reform that would enable every student to be ableto benefit fully from the school systems.
Schoolreforms were aimed at ensuring that the structured way a schooloperated was altered to suit the needs and abilities of everystudent. The reforms were aimed in rating students beyond just thetest scores. This is a one-dimensional form of educationalassessment. Teachers were also rated not according to thequalifications they had but according to their classroom performance.Reforms were mainly enforced through governmental, educationalbodies. This created a sense of distrust since the teachers felt thatthey were being forced to change tactics without their consultations.The key to a good reform system should include the teachers andschool leaders as this would make them feel that they are beingheard. The students as well need to be included in these reforms toensure that they do not get bored and decide to dropout. Thesereforms are thus aimed at ensuring students leave school with skillsthat will enable them to compete in the world economy.
Thereforms mainly implemented on schools focused on increased trainingof teachers as well as frequent monitoring of their classroom skills.The teachers were told to use more visual aids to increase theattention spans of the students. The students were also given morevoice so that they could air their grievances. These reforms slightlyhelped the education system, but they were not completely effective.This is because more factors on the reforms should have been broughtinto play. The school leaders should have been keen on ensuring thatevery single teacher motivates their students and expects them toperform. This can be enhanced through the teaching of a conceptrepeatedly until a student that fails to understand it finally does.This would in turn motivate the students. The students should also begiven records that monitor their performances over time. This isanother critical factor that would ensure the students pushthemselves to strive education wise. Smaller schools and smallerclass sizes are also seen to enhance the students’ growth when itcomes to learning and grasping what is being taught (Ibrahim, et al.2012). This works well since the students get more attention from theteachers due to the low population. Ensuring that the parentsassociation is also fully involved in the performance of the studentsis also another key factor to ensuring that the student performanceskeep improving. Good management skills from the leaders also ensurethat the performance of the students is high. Such involvesmaintenance of school facilities and buildings. Safety in the schoolsis also another vital factor. This safety is not just implementedthrough security guards and metal detectors, but by ensuring everystudent feels that the learning environment is safe and adequate forthe students to express themselves. This would promote a culture ofintellectual growth and thus achieve the effectiveness of theeducation systems.
Thediscussion below will focus on the educational reforms that werecarried out in the United Arab Emirates. These reforms would be seenwhether they were effective and the challenges that the reforms wentthrough before the implementation.
EducationalReforms in the UAE
Therapid development of United Arab Emirates due to oil discoveries inseveral parts of the country led to a massive influx of foreignexperts into the country. This made the administration realize thatit needed to give the citizens quality education so that they wouldstop the need to depend on foreign expertise. The Ministry ofEducation together with the government of The United Arab Emiratessaw the need to reform the system of education in the country. Theywanted the students to be exposed to quality education that was beingoffered in the western countries. These reforms included the planthat was set forth by the Abu Dhabi Educational Council. They setthese reforms by creating the Public Private Partnership (Gaad,et al. 2013).This organization was allowed to submit individuals who would providethe consultation to the schools based in the UAE. These foreignerscame up with the reform ideas that were based on the westerneducational reforms. Education was no longer the priority of theteachers, but it also included the students’ empowerment. Thesereforms were implemented from 2006 in elementary schools, 2008 inmiddle schools and finally 2009 in high schools. The reforms were setto change the educational system from the point where the teacherscontrolled everything, and the students had to cram everything sothat they might pass their exams. A new set of the school’scurriculum was set up to ensure these reforms would be followed. Theteachers were then trained to follow this new curriculum. Theteacher’s command of the English language was followed up so thatthe teachers would not be disadvantaged when it comes to teaching theinternational language. All these reforms were set to take place inten-year duration, but they faced many challenges.
Thelimitations that were faced during these reforms were mainly involvedwith the effects that these new reforms would have on the Arabicculture. The reforms that were being implemented were going to goagainst this culture. The Arabic culture believed that these reformswould make students start acting against this culture. This culturebelieved that anyone who had ideas or thoughts that were goingcontrary with the way the culture thought, they were lunatics. Thisbelief curtailed any form of innovation or creativity that could everarise. The teachers also felt that that these reforms were too suddenand were forced on them. The issue of smaller schools and classroomsto provide quality education adversely affected the poor since thisprogram was to be only implemented on rich private schools. This madesure that the pure students who were the majority were to be excludedin this program. The issue of involving parents in the performance ofthe students was another challenge since some of the students wereorphans and thus had no parents. This brought about a sense ofdistrust from the teachers to the organizations that were trying toimplement the reforms. All these factors ensure that the educationalreforms were bound to fail.
Howthe challenges were overcome
Thesechallenges were overcome mainly by ensuring that proper communicationchannels were created to reach the teachers and parents. The teacherswere made to understand that these reforms would bring manyimprovements in the education performance of the students. They werealso told how the students would have the skills to participate inthe economic market competitively. The issue of culture was addressedby ensuring that any teachings that were conducted would in no wayinterfere with the Arabic culture. Since UAE had many richbenefactors, they decided to sponsor much poor though gifted studentsto ensure that they continue with their education.
Positiveeffects of the reforms
Theseeducational reforms brought about numerous benefits to the UnitedArab Emirates. The main advantage was that the quality of educationwas improved. Many of the students emerged from these institutions oflearning with more skills that were bound to make them qualified toparticipate in the outside world. The teachers were also bettertrained, and they, therefore, influenced more useful knowledge to thestudents. This resulted in a more conducive form of an educationsystem that was building up individuals who were bound to play a bigrole in the society. Women were also given the chance to prove thatthey too could greatly improve from formal education, and thisresulted to the UAE to develop and improve greatly (Riley, 2011).
Negativeeffects of the reforms
Theeducational reforms brought about some negative effects. There wereteachers who felt that these reforms were imposed on them and thusthey did not want to follow them. This developed mistrust betweensome teachers and the Ministry of Education. Other students who werepoor failed to get the quality education since the smaller schoolswith better learning were too small.
Schoolfor me between 2009-2011
Iattended school when these educational reforms had already beenimplemented. Classroom work was relatively easy for me to understand. I was however amazed by the level of attention that the teacherspaid to each student. Any student that had not understood any conceptwas given opportunities to ask questions so that they may beanswered. I saw school as a safe area, and I was able to expressmyself and even talk about innovative ideas that I had. This periodof schooling made me realize that education reforms in the UnitedArab Emirates had played a crucial part in ensuring that I get thequality education that I require (Chaney, 2012).
Comparisonbetween of the Reforms in the US and UAE
Theschool reforms that were carried out in the United States were moreelaborate than the ones carried out in the United Arab Emirates. Thisis due to the difference in cultural practices and beliefs performedin the US. The reforms carried out their faced fewer challenges andthus were easy to implement (Rugh,2014).The opposite happened in the United Arab Emirates whereby most of themandates for reforms could not be carried out due to cultural andreligious differences.
Reformsin the UAE that do not fit into the US
Thereforms carried out by the New School Model in the UAE ensured thatthe teachers undertake professional training in Islamic Studies andArabic. This was to ensure that their skills and knowledge ofteaching these subjects is further enhanced. In the US, this reformwould have not been applicable since religious studies is not arequirement.
TheNew School Model reform also ensures that every student in the UAEgets education that gives them a comprehensive understanding of theirIslamic culture. The same is not applicable in the US since cultureis not taught in their schools.
Reformsin the US that do not fit in the UAE
Thenew reform policies in the US that disbanded the teaching ofreligious education in all public schools cannot be applied in theUAE since educating the students on Islamic Studies is a requirementin this region.
Theschool reforms followed soon after the civil rights movementinfluenced the US society. Racism had to be done away with foreducation to be provided for everyone. This reform is not applicablein the UAE since there has never been racism in that country.
Fromthe above discussion, it is noted that school reforms are vital increating a better and more holistic environment for every student togrow and learn. However, these reforms can be hindered by how theyare applied in a given society. It is, therefore, important toinclude the cultural and religious practices of the area that thereforms are to be applied. The role of teachers and how they areaffected by these reforms is also vital. The teachers are supposed tobe given opportunities to speak about their opinions on these reformsbefore they are followed through. The main goal of these reformsshould ensure that students have a safe and free environment for themto build their minds.
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