FNC voices concerns over public education

Hussain Al Hammadi, the Minister of Education, was told FNC members have been inundated with complaints from parents and teachers about the standard of education offered in schools.

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ABU DHABI // The public schools system is in a “bitter situation”, with teachers quitting and too much study material, some of which is factually wrong and inappropriate, members of the Federal National Council say.

Members told Hussain Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, that they have been inundated with complaints from parents and teachers about the standard in public schools.

“I don’t doubt your capabilities as Minister of Education but the situation is bitter,” Naama Al Sharhan, of Ras Al Khaimah, said at this week’s FNC meeting in Abu Dhabi.

“Today our WhatsApp is full of complaints. Why is this ­education causing misery for students at home?

“The mothers are crying, the fathers are crying, the teachers are upset.”

Pupils are being overburdened with study materials, which puts them and their parents under pressure, said Sharjah member Ayesha bin Samnoh.

Ms bin Samnoh gave the example of an 808-page science textbook for Grade 3 pupils.

“How will our children comprehend this massive amount of information?” she asked.

“Thousands of questions are being asked by children about inappropriate pictures in their study material at a time when we are focusing on moral ethics.”

The new public school curriculum that was introduced two years ago also contains factual errors, said member Hamad Al Rahoomi, of Dubai.

“How is it possible to have errors in Quranic verses and Gulf-based names?” he asked, adding that the Arabian Gulf is referred to as the Persian Gulf and the names of some officials are misspelt.

“If there were an observation committee with at least one UAE national these things would not have passed.”

Mr Al Hammadi replied: “Of course the curriculums undergo an evaluation process.”

He said the errors had been corrected, mistakes were common in any new system and things would improve.

But Mr Al Rahoomi said this was not the correct approach.

“When you say ‘I will make ­errors and then fix my mistakes’, you already printed thousands of books. Will you throw them all away?

“Obviously it will create a stir when students and parents find errors.”

Afra Al Basti, a member from Dubai, said there were scientific errors, inaccurate translations and poorly chosen material in the Grade 3 science book.

Members recommended that the ministry’s curriculum be reviewed by a national committee before it was presented to pupils. The ministry agreed to all recommendations proposed by the council.