Minds Buried Under Sand: Deficient High School Education in Saudi Arabia

Posted on July 14, 2007

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Source: Arabsnews.com
Tariq A. Al-Maeena, talmaeena@aol.com

Year in and year out, changes are expected in the field of education, and yet we see little progress. A society that has produced dependency on expatriate expertise has obviously failed to tune its educational curriculum to the needs of this growing country. Although the figures being touted by the Ministry of Education on the number of graduates annually may provide them a false sense of pride, very little is debated on the quality and marketability of these graduates.

A high school graduate from one of our public schools today can be expected to underperform in the following areas:

Language: Be it Arabic or English, it is distressing to note that in general most high school graduates cannot compose a single page in either language. If you ask them to prepare their resume, you would most likely be met with a blank stare.

Technical Skills: Very few male graduates would be able to carry out simple repairs on their vehicles such as changing tires or replacing spark plugs. In the home, small chores such as replacing electrical outlets or repairing a leaking faucet would be a formidable task. Ask ten graduates to individually prepare you a meal, the chances are you would end up hungry. Why not set up such specific workshops in schools? It would be a funny way to learn key skills.

Financial Savvy: Very few school leavers would even begin to understand the basics of financial management. Balancing their budget, meager as it may be, is not an art practiced with great skills here. Eventually it begins to catch up with these kids as they grow up and are thrust into the real world.

Critical Thinking: Our system of education tends to produce parroting drones. Fed with school material through a one-way system of communication, most students do just enough to memorize their assignments for a passing grade. With very little interactive dialogue encouraged in the classroom between students and teachers, the interest level in good education begins to wane. [more]

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