FNC call for better supervision of teachers in Northern Emirates

Evaluation standards in the Northern Emirates slipping, education minister told.

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ABU DHABI // An FNC member and school principal will lead calls tomorrow for more rigorous supervision of teaching standards in the Northern Emirates.

Aisha Al Yammahi (Sharjah) believes standards of evaluation have slipped in the past year and she intends to question the Minister of Education, Humaid Al Qattami, on the issue at tomorrow's public FNC session.

The ministry used to send supervisors to check on classes, evaluate teachers, oversee class activities and check that the information being taught was correct.

Now, says Ms Al Yammahi, teachers are left to teach however they please, with little evaluation.

"Now the ministry's role is just oversight," she said. "They come once or twice a year only for around 10 minutes. Who will evaluate the teachers? My question will be who will make sure that facts given to the children are accurate."

She said supervision was now left to principals, but because they were not specialised in all subjects they found this difficult.

"If the principal is an Arabic teacher, how can he evaluate an English lesson and rest assured that everything the teacher passed to pupils is right?" she said. "The principals mainly focus on administration of classes. The system was much better before."

The minister will also be questioned by Ali Al Nuaimi (Ajman) over heavy school bags.

He will ask what the ministry's role was in setting regulations to ensure pupil safety in all schools, public and private.

"Some schools ask parents not to let their children carry bags with wheels, so there are no scratches on the floor," he said. "If the bag is heavy it would cause children pain. What's more important, the floor or children's health?"

The question was first due to be directed to the minister at the last session on March 19, but was postponed as he did not attend.

Other questions delayed from last session will be directed to the Minister of Justice, Dr Hadif Al Dhaheri.

Ahmed Al Zaabi (Sharjah) will ask about electronic court fees, while Mossabeh Al Kitbi (Sharjah) will ask about court cases that are drawn out by repeated adjournments - particularly cases involving expatriates.

Mr Al Kitbi said this has led to criticism of the court system by other countries.

"I see if only cases are sped up so we do not leave a chance for anyone to talk," he said. "So for example instead of a case taking up to 18 months, it could be sped up a little to eight months or less, without interfering with the court system."

Other ministers scheduled to attend to answer to members include Dr Rashid bin Fahad, the Minister of Environment and Water, Obaid Al Tayer, the Minister of State for Financial Affairs, and Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State and head of the National Bureau of Statistics.

Dr Fahad will be asked by Ahmed Al Jarwan (Sharjah) about the monitoring of both locally produced and imported food.

During the second half of the session, the new Minister of Public Works, Abdullah Al Nuaimi, will be present as the council debates a report on his ministry.

The public session begins at 9am tomorrow at the FNC headquarters in Abu Dhabi.