‘I am paying for his education yet it’s forced on my money’

Embarking on his GCSE studies and coping with a new school and different curriculum, one expat parent says his son is struggling with hours of Arabic a week on top of all his other school work.

ABU DHABI // For British father Alan Davis, the compulsory learning of Arabic can be a distraction from his child’s core studies and has questioned its relevance in the school curriculum.

The Abu Dhabi expat’s 14-year-old son started at Al Yasmina Primary School after moving from the UK eight months ago.

Mr Davies, a civilian contractor with the military, said that as his son embarked on his GCSE studies and tried to cope with a new school and curriculum, hours of Arabic studies each week on top of his other school work were a struggle.

“I think it is something that can be taught in the earlier years,” he said. “But my son has just moved here, it is GCSE years. As he is not doing his GCSE Arabic, I wouldn’t choose for him to do it because he has just got here and you can’t pick up a GCSE language when you are 14 years old.

“The enforced teaching of Arabic I find to be a distraction from his other studies.

“Also, the teachers – I hate to say – don’t seem to take teaching Arabic that seriously.

“There is no testing, there is no examination, it is just, ‘you have to complete X number of hours of Arabic in a week’.”

This, said Mr Davies, makes Arabic teaching a “tick-box exercise” rather than something beneficial.

“They teach a few words and my son can write his name in Arabic but that is kind of about it,” he said. “So from a home point of view, I am not going to push him to learn any Arabic words.

“It is something like an hour a day he does Arabic. I would far rather in a week that he got five hours extra teaching in the topics that are relevant to him and that he has chosen to study.”

Having chosen individual sciences, potentially leaning towards a career in medicine, his son already has hours of extra school work a week.

“So if he comes home with Arabic homework – which is not graded – it’s just a distraction in his day,” said Mr Davies. “It’s forced on my money what he studies for five hours a week – and I don’t think that is fair.

“Schools out here are like a business and a percentage of what you are putting into it is being dictated by the municipality and it is not even being taken seriously - so what is the point?”


Published: September 24, 2016 04:00 AM


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