Monday, October 29, 2012

How to improve Education and the curriculms in Saudi

      When Japan lost World War II, the chief general of the Japanese Army decided to retire from serving in the military and worked as an Elementary teacher!. While he was a teacher, he taught his students about the keys to success and the reasons of Japan's loss in World War II. Fifteen years later, the Japanese economy went back to the point where it was before WWII!. Therefore, if we want our children to have a better life and a better future we should do our best to improve the education systems in Saudi and be more creative about it.

      If we really want to improve our education system, we should look at the world's best country in general education ,which is Finland. We should start thinking about how did Finland become so good to have the best schools worldwide ? It is true, it might sound a little bit unrealistic to look at the world's best country in Education at this time but at the same time you have always to aim to be number one and put a long term target for yourself.

      There are many reasons that made Finland's schools the best worldwide. Unfortunately, the majority of these reasons don't exist in our education system despite the fact that we have the adequate resources to have them. The first reason in my opinion is the teachers. Teachers in public schools in Finland have to have at least a Master Degree in Education!. However, in Saudi the majority of teachers graduated from the Teacher Colleges ,which degrees' are considered an Associate Degree!. Being enrolled to these colleges are usually not appealed to the clever students. Plus the requirements of admission are easy to meet ,which enables many guys who were not good students to become teachers and instead of improving the educational system they make it worse.

      Using the traditional way of teaching is also another reason why many students hate learning and schools. Throughout the twelve years I studied in Saudi, teachers come to the class and only talk and lecture to us. They don't encourage students to interact with them or think about what they were learning. They don't create an atmosphere to make the students think creatively and critically. They don't associate fun with learning when we were in the Elementary school. And when we were in high school teachers were telling us about Hell punishments and the scary moments of the first night at your grave more than the time they let us play soccer and have fun "one class a week!". They also created that fear of punishment and the rationalization of revolting over the teacher and breaking the school laws as much as possible.

    In Finish schools, the first thing students do when they arrive to school is simply to take their shoes off and "relax". They know exercising is essential for the students and they realize the fact that some of the students are still sleepy when they get to school in the morning so they encourage them to warm up and feel awake unlike the pointless morning line up in Saudi when all of the class students line up in the backyard of school and listen to a very bored repetitive broadcast by other students followed by silly exercises that only two or three students on each class do them correctly and enthusiastically. 

    Talking about the poor infrastructures and buildings in public schools in Saudi and the corruption in it needs a whole book to talk in details about it. Many writers and the Saudi National Committee Against Corruption talked about this issue many times. So, I will leave this matter to them as I don't want to talk much about it in this article.

    Now, let's move to the curriculum and how to improve it. In my own humble opinion, imposing the same curriculum on all of the public schools in Saudi is the worst thing to do as it kills creativity and diversity in learning among students. All of Saudi high school students have learned exactly the same materials ,which means the mass students have the same kind of thoughts and knowledge. Plus, the mass students are also ignorant about many things they haven't learned in schools. Moreover, expecting that all of the high school students to know the same things would make them more prepared for colleges is absolutely wrong. Most of the Saudi college students who are studying in college that have never covered in school before and are never using many of the materials they learned when they were in school.

  Giving the students more opportunities in choosing the materials they want to study is a great way to improve the outcome of Saudi high school graduates. We would have a diverse learner graduates that some are literate in Math and Natural Sciences, others are good at Biology and Medicine. We can also have classes to enable us to discover those who can be scientist one day and motivate them.

   There is an important concept in Economics ,which is Specialization. I believe if we apply this concept effectively in Saudi many problems would be solved. This concept should also be applied to curriculum and should put into consideration specializing the student from an early age as well.