As of the next Academic year 2012-13, British curriculum schools in Dubai will undergo inspections by BSO (British Schools Overseas) inspectors applying the same standards of the Department for Education (DfE) in the United Kingdom. For the core international curriculum (Maths, English and Science) this is great news. Parents who pay a lot for their children’s education will rest assured that the quality of education their children will receive meets the equivalent standards that they will one day reintegrate into after leaving life in the UAE.
I wonder, how will this pan out with the provision of Arabic and Islamic Education? Will the KHDA continue to oversee the teaching of Arabic and Islamic Education? Are they going to make sure that teaching and learning of these subjects also meet international quality standards? Moreover, as the crisis in Arabic and Islamic Education continues who will finally underpin the importance of Arabic to ‘Islamic and or Arabic identity?’ Furthermore, will Islamic Education classes continue to be a ‘pointless lesson’ due to its lack of marketability or social value? These are important questions both for the UK and the UAE and in particular for learners of Arabic as a Second Language and the Muslim population of expat children undertaking Islamic Education.
The United Kingdom and Western democracies in particular since 9/11 have spent billions combatting terrorism and reinforcing the values of citizenship through encouraging closer integration between Islamic Studies and Citizenship Education. Will Islamic Education in the Middle East continue to bear the resemblance of some vague type of moral instruction or look more like Citizenship and PHSEE Education? Will Arabic and Islamic Education students and graduates see the economic value of their certificates and degrees as they are urged to take these subjects seriously by their teachers?
Lastly, as answers are being found to these questions, will Arabic and Islamic Education teachers – both core subjects in this part of the world – be entitled to the same professional recognition and continued professional development as their colleagues of the other core subjects? These questions are yet to be answered.