Modern schooling systems around the world are currently working to involve parents in school and community activities. It is true for UAE as well. Research shows that parental involvement is beneficial not only for grades of their own children but for other children as well. Seeing real adults and hearing about the world from them is good for students, as they become more prepared for the challenges that await them in the real world.
Extracurricular school activities and community events are some of the areas in which parents are able to contribute. In UAE, National Day is one of the biggest national holidays, which is marked by a vacation for students. Nevertheless, this holiday is an opportunity for parental involvement in numerous schooling and community activities, which will open their doors to those who wish to spend their free time learning. This paper is dedicated to identifying areas and activities throughout the year in which parents play a critical role.
National Day Celebrations
In UAE, National Day is celebrated yearly on 2nd December. The holiday is meant to commemorate the creation of the Union, which happened on 2nd December of 1971 when various emirates have agreed to unite and build together one powerful, sovereign nation. This holiday is celebrated by demonstrations, manifestations, air shows, and military parades. Parent involvement during these festivities is paramount. By introducing their children to the culture and traditions of UAE, they promote patriotism and love for one’s own history, people, and country, which is important for individual growth and for the prosperity of the country in general.
Parental roles in this event are revealed on both individual and communal levels – parents educate their children on rules and traditions of their people, before bringing them to the celebration. At the celebration, they safeguard the children, establish order, and ensure that the celebrations are proceeding accordingly.
Abu Dhabi Reading Programs
In 2013, Abu Dhabi launched the “Abu Dhabi Reads” program, which is a program for students and children to be acquainted with national and world literature and enhances their reading and writing skills. This program endorses numerous schools and other learning facilities in order to facilitate cooperation and get more children to attend the project. Parents have a very important role in this venture’s success.
Parents may instill a reading culture in a child from a very young age, and encourage it throughout various stages of development. By attending Abu Dhabi Reads, parents would be showing an example to their children and all other children around them. As it has been proven many times before, parental influence plays a pivotal role in promoting education among their children. In addition to this, parents can acquaint their children with reading by introducing them to Abu Dhabi Reads, as some students are simply unaware of the program. To summarize, in this area, parental influence accomplishes three roles:
- Inspirational role.
- Informational role.
- Disciplinary role.
Without parental influence, reading enhancement projects such as Abu Dhabi Reads are doomed to failure. Annual Abu Dhabi Reads campaign starts on 19th of April and ends on 12th of May.
Every year schools around UAE have vocation days, on which parents assemble at schools and teach the students about a great multitude of jobs that exists out there. This is very important to the development of a young and productive member of the society. While teachers possess a great deal of knowledge about the world, when it comes to jobs and employment, they rarely have any noteworthy experience outside of teaching. Parents fill in that knowledge gap by offering a down-to-earth view on job perspectives and speak from personal experience, which is much more relatable to students. While parents and their opinions undeniably hold weight and authority to their own children, other children still have much to learn from them. Aside from the obvious benefits of knowledge and experience, career days allow for students and adults to form connections that would prove invaluable in the future.
For example, should a student wish to become a doctor after graduating from school, he or she would be able to seek professional advice from parents of one of his or her peers. They would be able to help him out with sound advice and information, which the student would be much more responsive towards. Career days do not have a set date in the UAE, so each school chooses the date based on their own preferences. Learning opportunities differ for students of different grades – in primary school children are taught about the professions in general, while in high school the emphasis goes to such important questions like payment, education, social benefits, and growth opportunities. To summarize, parental involvement promotes knowledge and experience in different working fields and fosters social connections between the members of the society.
Parent councils play a very important role in schooling systems around the world, and UAE is no exception to this. These councils serve as important tools for interaction with teacher councils and student councils, thus forming a triumvirate of mutual cooperation, supervision, and control. Parent councils are concerned with the involvement of parents in school events, and quality control of educational standards and practices within the school. Parents, who are interested in their children’s education and wellbeing, are trusted to be the judges and supervisors in many important matters considering how schools teach and treat their children.
In addition to that, the presence of parental control within the school facility means that the children do not feel separated from their parents. Participating in parent councils is very educational for parents as well – they get the opportunity to know the facility where their children spend a good portion of their day, from the inside out, and receive powerful tools of supervision and control over school procedures. This knowledge allows them to become more acquainted with how schools work and help shape their expectations and demands, making those more rational and applicable to the situation at hand.
Every school decides on the dates of parent council meetings on its own, though typically, they take place at the beginning of every school year, when the goals and expectations for the upcoming year are being set, at the end of the year, when all progress is summarized, and conclusions are made. In addition, there are intermediary meetings taking place every semester, addressing the issues and problems that schools have to face during the year. This allows for parent councils to exert a modicum of awareness and control without pulling its members away from their jobs, which, more often than not, take priority.
It is said that community service serves as the building block for the UAE, and traditions of community service run deep within the cities and schools across the country. At the same time, the participation of school children in various non-profit activities is always viewed through a lens of suspicion, as laws of the UAE prohibit child labor. Presence of the children’s parents and their active participation in various programs initiated by the school authorities or the government would not only lend parents powerful tools of awareness and control of what their children are doing, but also receive an opportunity to spend time with their children and other people’s children while doing something productive and beneficial to the community as a whole.
Schools in the UAE offer numerous opportunities to volunteer. The Red Crescent, various non-profit charity organizations, community service groups that help protect nature, keep the streets clean and distribute important information, musical bands, orphanages – these organizations are all eager to involve students and pupils in their practices. Parent involvement is of great help as well, as parents have specific sets of skills that children do not have, thus are able to perform in leadership roles and undertake complex tasks that children would not be able to handle on their own.
Most volunteer organizations usually recruit students during summer vacations, which are the longest and allow for more time committed to community activities. According to the UAE law, the participation of a child under 18 years of age in a volunteer action requires written permission from the child’s parents or legal guardians. Thus, the final word on this matter belongs to the parents, making their consent the deciding factor in community service activities.