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As the region strives toward a knowledge-based economy, education has become big business. But we’re going about it wrong; here’s a lesson for all businesses – even those outside education.
November 15, 2010 5:28 by Edmund Sheen
Some of these can be attributed to a lack of experience. “The U.A.E. and G.C.C. states in general are young countries and their education systems are recently development,” the assistant professor of political science at the U.A.E. University, Maryam Sultan Ahmed Lootah, says.
Elsewhere, steps are being taken to improve things. An Education Project 2010 met in Bahrain recently to discuss enhancing systems. The project was launched in 2009 within the strategic initiatives adopted by Bahrain “to promote education through the exchange of best applications and creation of a practical approach for workers in the sector.”
Bahrain already boasts an 87 percent adult literacy rate, the highest in the region.
In Qatar, a new law to regulate private schools is on the anvil which would make it mandatory for school managements to get the job contracts of teachers endorsed by the Supreme Education Council and monitor curriculum, a change in the 30-year old law. In August, Saudi Arabia announced that over half of its allocated 1.44 trillion riyal expenditures, in support of the 2010-2014 targets under its Ninth Development Plan, will go toward developing human resources, which includes all levels of education. Nearly 40 percent of the country’s annual education budget will go toward teacher retraining. The most heartening example is Oman, where education reforms have been quite successful.
But if big ticket education advisors think they can only assign blame without taking responsibility, here is what one of their own has to say: “Too many advisers come to the U.A.E. with the idea that this is a career move and they would be here for the rest of their lives. They think they are not trying to work themselves out of job. They are trying to keep themselves in the job.”
Sound advice for any business owner in the Gulf – whether or not he’s in the education business.
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