Early childhood education is one of the numerous issues on the today’s agenda of many countries (Daniela and Rutka 325). Recent studies show that the significance of early education can hardly be overrated, as the acquisition of the corresponding information and skills occurs at an enormously fast pace in young children (Boyer et al. 23). Therefore, missing the opportunity at providing a child with the tools for an early start in its progress clearly is inadmissible.
According to recent research, early education allows for creating the premises for the increasingly successful development of an individual in terms of not only academic but also professional and personal progress. Particularly, early education creates the environment in which the process of metacognition can occur. Therefore, early education helps children realize how they learn so that they can engage in self-directed learning afterward.
The concept of early education has been integrated into the statewide curriculum by a range of education ministries in numerous states; particularly, the United States have been promoting the specified change with the help of the tools such as the creation of numerous daycare facilities, the development of the corresponding early education (EE) programs, and the provision of a 16–week parental leave so that parents could influence the process of their children’s education actively (Waldfogel par. 1).
Seeing that the promotion of EE has proven a success in most states and promises rather rewarding outcomes as far as both personal and professional progress of the state residents is concerned, it is reasonable to suggest the introduction of an EE policy in the UAE’s education landscape. Particularly, the increase of parental leave and the creation of corresponding programs aimed at the early development of children must be viewed as the focus of the policy in question.
It would be wrong to assume that the concept of early education has not been viewed as an opportunity for improving the current process of education in the UAE by the state department of education. Quite on the contrary, numerous enthusiasts have been attempting to promote early education in the specified environment. However, the endeavors that have been made so far do not seem to have any tangible effect on the statewide situation, as the proponents of the specified innovation do not seem to realize the significance of the roles of family members in the specified process. Particularly, the fact that the parents must support he child in the course of the EE process deserves to be mentioned. The current parental leave, in its turn, does not allow parents to spend the required amount of time with the child so that the process of EE could occur at a natural pace and that the child could train the skills acquired in the course of communicating with the teacher and the peers with the parents. As a result, most EE endeavors are likely to fail unless the required initiative is undertaken.
Another important issue regarding the enactment of the initiative under analysis concerns the creation of the corresponding centers in which children could train the newly acquired skills and where educators could facilitate the learning process by using the required teaching skills. Despite the recent promotion of EE in the UAE educational landscape, the facilities such as the Early Years Educational Services (“About us” par. 1), the lack of clarity in the directions of the programs in question and their correlation with the curriculum adopted by the Department of Education is glaring. Herein the need to create the EE policy that will align with the existing educational standards adopted in the UAE and promote the further acquisition of the corresponding skills among students and teachers alike lies.
Statement of Purpose
The key purposes of the policy in question are listed below. It is assumed that the EE policy as described above will help:
- improve the process of knowledge and skills acquisition among students by adopting up-to-date teaching strategies and providing students with modern learning techniques;
- update the UAE educational system so that students could acquire the necessary skills in a more efficient manner;
- reduce the rates of school dropout among the UAE students;
- increase the rates of high school, college, institute and university enrollment among the UAE students;
- promote the concept of lifelong learning and self-directed education among students so that they could evolve in the professional field of their choice so that the UAE workforce could be characterized by increasingly excellent skills;
- reduce the unemployment rates among the residents of the UAE by reinforcing the concept of lifelong education and, therefore, improving the quality rates of the staff’s performance.
Seeing that the goals listed above are rather large-scale, the completion of several smaller objectives will have to be carried out so that the necessary environment could be facilitated for EE learners. Specifically, the Department will have to:
- Increase the number of EE facilities so that all children could be provided with an opportunity to improve their skills and acquire new knowledge;
- Adjust the current school curriculum so that it could take the previous experience of EE students into account and use the skills acquired by them to build further knowledge;
- Identify the teaching strategies that will have to be applied by the staff of the facilities mentioned above so that the learning process could occur at the required pace and deliver the expected results;
- Create the education standards that will allow for an in-depth evaluation of the EE learners’ progress and the retrieval of the following instructions concerning the further course of their academic development;
- Increase the overall number of days for both maternal and paternal leave up to 104 weeks per each parent so that both the mother and the father could arrange their schedule in a more accurate manner and spend more time with their children, therefore, improving the overall quality of the EE process.
- The parental leave does not necessarily have to occur at the same time for the mother and the father. It is up to parents to decide how they will make use of the time that they are provided with by the current policy as far as the educational process of their child is concerned. The parents, however, must make sure that they should create the environment that will facilitate the acquisition of the necessary skills by their child in a manner as efficient as possible within the deadline provided by the UAE Department of Education.
- The students are expected to have learned the basic information in the fields such as Languages (Reading, Writing), Mathematics (basic logics and the use of basic operators, recognition of numbers and shapes, etc.), Art (ability to draw basic shapes and objects).
EE Agency Grants
Needless to say, the promotion of the specified policy will require substantial funding. First and most obvious, the creation of the corresponding facilities and centers will demand an impressive amount of money. Next, the training sessions to be designed for educators that will work with young learners deserve to be mentioned as requiring a substantial number of resources.
Local Educational Agency Grants
The following amounts of money will be donated to develop new educational centers (e.g., build the offices, train the staff, provide the staff with salaries, buy the necessary tools such as books, maps, etc., and create official sites):
- AED 20,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2016;
- AED 15,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2017;
- AED 10,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2018;
- AED 10,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2019;
- AED 15,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2020.
The monetary support mentioned above will be distributed across the UAE to the corresponding educational facilities and used afterward by the local educational authorities. To avoid possible instances of financial fraud, the introduction of regular reports concerning the purchase of the corresponding supplies and services must be submitted by the local authorities and the centers on a regular basis.
Migratory Children Education
The changes in the current UAE educational landscape will concern not only the naïve residents but also the members of the migrant community. It is the goal of the UAE Department of Education to provide all members of the population with equal learning and career opportunities; therefore, the children of the migrant families will be provided with the same services as far as their education is concerned.
For the purpose of addressing the needs of children from a different ethnic background, there are authorized to be appropriated AED 5,000,000,000 for each fiscal year so that these students could keep pace with others (particularly, the development of bilingual skills needs to be considered);
Children with Special Needs
Apart from migratory children, young learners with special needs (particularly, physically or mentally challenged students) will need assistance from educators.
- For the purpose of addressing the needs of children with physical or mental disabilities, there are authorized to be appropriated AED 5,000,000,000 for the purchase of the required aids and the adoption of the teaching strategies that will help the specified type of learners acquire the necessary skills in an efficient and expeditious manner;
- For the purpose of acquiring the necessary learning resources, particularly, books, maps, whiteboards, stationery, etc., and the use of the services provided by the UAE school libraries, there are authorized to be appropriated AED 7,000,000,000;
For the purposes of creating premises for the education process of the highest quality and efficacy and, therefore, the promotion of the latest teaching strategies among educators, there are authorized to be appropriated AED 10,000,000,000.
The adoption of the latest technological advances as the tools for improving the quality of education is viewed as a necessity. The teachers will be obliged to undergo the training that will help them learn to design online assessments with the help of the corresponding e-tools and conduct the specified assessments among the target students to retrieve further instructions concerning the learning process.
- Teachers must incorporate online assessments of learners to carry out regular evaluations of the learners’ progress;
- Teachers must also integrate the traditional assessment tools into the evaluation process to deliver objective and measurable results.
The integration of the specified e-assessment tools will compel teachers to comply with the existing policies regarding safe use of the Internet and the provision of online security of the participants. Specifically, the educators will have to make sure that:
- The personal information of learners is stored in secure databases protected with complex passwords;
- The access to the databases mentioned above is permitted after the provision of a personal ID and the password of the participant;
- The passwords to the databases containing the personal information of the students and the teachers are changed on a monthly basis;
- Both the parents of the students and the teachers involved are to sign an informed consent regarding the provision of their personal data and the storage thereof in the school databases.
The provision of the specified educational services is free for all denizens of the UAE population and is provided to all those willing to participate in the EE program. Therefore, no charges for the purchase of the corresponding tools used in class (e.g., worksheets, pencils, etc.) are allowed. In case any member of the community spots the facility that practices a different financial policy or acts in any way other than the financial regulations of the given policy suggest, actions must be taken.
It is assumed that the adoption of the policy in question will trigger a rapid change in the performance of students across the UAE. Particularly, the learners who will be taught based on the new policy and, therefore, receive essential knowledge necessary for their further education since a comparatively young age will be able to develop an intrinsic understanding of various subjects, such as mathematics, language, etc., and, thus, become more efficient in the academic process.
More importantly, the issue regarding metacognition and self—directed learning deserves to be touched upon as one of the basic changes that will occur in the UAE educational landscape. The promotion of lifelong learning should also be viewed as an essential tool for bringing the rates of unemployment among the residents of the UAE down to a considerable extent.
The increase in the number of days used for parental leave is also bound to have largely positive effects on the promotion of the EE policy. As it has been stressed above, the importance of family support for early learners is very high. Herein the need for children to be encouraged by their mother and father lies. Thus, both parents should have enough time to spend on the education of their children. The suggestion regarding the increase of the total number of weeks for parental leave to 104 concerns both parents separately; i.e., each of the parents must be provided with 104 weeks of parental leave.
The fact that the policy in question promotes the concept of free education for the students coming from an economically or socially disadvantaged background also proves that it is bound to have a positive effect on the current social and economic state of the UAE. Once all children receive an opportunity to excel in the learning process and become a valued member of the society, the poverty issue, and the unemployment rates are going to become a history.
About us 2015. Web.
Boyer, Stefanie L., Diane R. Edmondson, Andrew B. Artis, and David Fleming. “Self-Directed Learning: A Tool for Lifelong Learning.” Journal of Marketing Education 36.1 (2014): 20–32. Print.
Daniela, Linda and Lūcija Rutka. The Teacher of the 21st Century: Quality Education for Quality Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. Print.
Waldfogel, Jane. “Why 16-Week Paid Parental Leave Policies are Revolutionary for U.S. Workers.” The Washington Post. 2015. Web.