UAE schools told it's time to put kids before profits
Education experts have warned schools to stop putting profits before pupils and invest in quality teachers.
Speaking at the Transforming Education Summit in Abu Dhabi yesterday, Andy Hargreaves, Professor of Education at Boston University, said the standard of teaching is at a crossroads because schools are used to make money.
“Schools are used as an investment for short-term benefits,” Hargreaves said. “Establishers use education as an opportunity to make profits, which has diminished the quality of teaching in many schools.
“Schools are used for testing research and equipment and little is put in for developing students’ skills.”
Hargreaves is among a number of speakers at the summit, which is being held to thrash out ways of improving education in Abu Dhabi.
With so many private schools in the UAE, the issue of profits is often a sore point with parents. Hargreaves warned schools often hire inexperienced teachers so they can increase profits.
“Schools need to hire good quality teachers who are well-educated and experienced so as to provide better education for students,” he said, adding that developing good teachers is the most important factor in transforming education.
“Teaching is from the heart. It’s a passion and practical. Teachers need to be motivated to love their job so that they can provide good quality education to the students.”
According to Hargreaves, education should be seen as a long-term investment for long-term rewards because it determines how future generations will grow. He also called on schools to increase salaries for teachers.
Speakers at the summit have also urged governments to invest more in education to produce a higher quality of professionals in the workplace.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was among the speakers. He said: “There is great need to equip citizens with good quality education. What can distinguish the UAE from other countries is the quality of its people and not the resources.”
He also appealed to the education authorities to focus on creating of a curriculum that can transform students into great thinkers so they fit into the job market.
The three-day education summit, taking place at Emirates Palace Hotel, has been organised by the Abu Dhabi Education Council.