The three R’s in our Arab Schools

A great majority of the students I talk to mention how their classrooms echo with their teachers’ shouting and instilling fear in them rather than a love of learning. Schools, for decades now, have been void of any challenge, creativity, warmth, empathy and individuality shattering into pieces the great Multiple Intelligence theory created by the acclaimed Howard Gardner. What’s scary is that schools usually shape their societies after them and we definitely do not need nor want societies that are illiterate, empty, uncreative and passive acceptors of any substandard ideologies and ways of life.

Gulf News – Dr. Hanada Taha-Thomure

This is an article that is well worth reading and understanding. There has been a huge hub-hub in the Arab world when asked to modernise the school system, invariably the Islamists and others labeled these steps as “America attacking our religion and culture” sort of thing, rather than “ok, let’s have a look at our education system and try to produce more educated and open-minded leaders of the future”.

If these people need proof that our schooling system doesn’t work and never has so far, look around you in any Arab (or Islamic) country and see what the schools are producing.

Oh, the “three R’s?” Read – Remember – Regurgitate! That’s the tenet of the education system we currently have in the Arab and Islamic world at the moment.


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  3. anonymous

    The three R’s in our Arab Schools

    I AGREE WITH EVERY WORD WRITTEN IN THE THREE R’s article.. I beleive that if the educational system is not changed to meet the the international standards or still does not urge our children to think , to question and to reflect we will be back and behind , behind till no one can see us or even notice us… HARAM WALLAHA HARAM..

  4. kategirl

    Re: The three R’s in our Arab Schools

    You’re all wrong. The only thing we need to do is segregate our university campuses and then we will have a perfect education system.

  5. [deleted]0.32783500 1099323299.832

    Re(1): The three R’s in our Arab Schools

    Why bother segregating at all? Just keep the women at home and stop their education at the 6th grade level.

  6. mahmood

    Re(1): The three R’s in our Arab Schools

    hehaha.. yeah we didn’t think of that, Mulla Chan’ad Al-Saidi! 😆

  7. salima44

    Re(2): The three R’s in our Arab Schools

    Mulla Chan’ad Al-Saidi,

    Where is thou BEARD????

    Peach fuzz doesn’t cut it!!!

  8. [deleted]0.32783500 1099323299.832

    The three R’s in our Arab Schools

    This is SO true. I never realized it until I had moved here and had to experience this first hand. Coming from the States, we (the Omani hub unit and I) were used to having choices in the types of schools (teaching methods) that we wanted our children to attend. When we got here, we were faced with the choice of bad school or worse school. Nothing was appealing, but (at the time) we didn’t have time or a choice. After a year of putting up with the Regurgitative Method of learning, I knew that this would not produce a well rounded child with his/her own freedom in thinking. (I grew up in a time of Regurgitation Method…and I know that it doesn’t produce effective students/people.) So, I transferred them to a school that is exclusive to Expats.
    This particular school is known to have an OUTSTANDING program…and there are many Omanis that want their children to attend. However, they have to have special permission from the Ministry of (de)Education. One Omani man went to the ministry to ask for this “special permission” and was rejected and asked, “Do we not have good enough schools in Oman for you?” He bit his tongue, thanked the man for his time and left…pissed. He wanted to tell him that he wouldn’t even BE there ASKING if there were “good enough schools” in Oman.
    It’s funny though…there are a few of the Royal Family members who have children that attend this particular school. It must not be good enough for the rabble.

  9. mahmood

    Oman’s restrictive ways

    Oman seem to be a very restrictive, and big-brotherly place. You need to get a special permit to marry a foreign wife (I guess foreign husband is out of the question), special permit to get your children educated in private schools, and maybe even a special permit to breath?!

    I know some Omanis and have been fortunate enough to call some of them friends for more than 10 years while I worked for Gulf Air, they are some of the best people I have ever met. I find it really strange that their country is like this. A real shame. It never really crossed my mind that Oman was like this.

    But back to your question though in that it’s okay for the Goose but not for the Gander, it’s the same all over the Arab world and examples abound…

    In any case, Education should be the very first thing to be privatised, I think this is the only way that we will get good education, by getting choice, competition between schools and a proper ranking system.

  10. [deleted]0.32783500 1099323299.832

    Re: Oman’s restrictive ways

    (If this is a double posting, then pardon me…I’m not sure if I hit the “submit” button earlier)

    There are private schools in Oman that are open to Omanis and the public alike (in the beginning, we sent our children to a private school)…but they have the same teaching methods as the public schools…and, in most cases, the same types of teachers. The only real difference is the fact that you have to pay a lot of money for the “prestige” of sending your kids to the private schools. It seems to be more important for the parents that their child go to a school that “so and so’s” child goes to or the “most expensive” school in Oman…rather than focusing on the core issue of what and how their child is learning and what type of student they are becoming. Most parents seem to think that the more they pay for a school, the less involved they need to be in their child’s education. (I found that in the States, as well.) But for those that are deeply concerned about their child’s schooling, they know that these schools that are offered here are not suitable. But what other choices do they have? We were lucky…but we know of so many others that are not.
    And what about public libraries for literacy and education for the masses? Don’t even get me started. Omani’s need a reformed Ministry of Education…one that will be proactive in the furthering of their minds and development.

  11. fekete

    The three R’s in our Arab Schools


    The only R worth mentioning is Reform.

    It aint just the Omanis who need this fundamental reform in education. Its all the Gulf States. In fact, its most of the Arab World.

    This reform, as you rightly point out, is not about changing the faciltiies. It is about fundamentally investing in our syllabi and our teachers. (I am talking about the public school system). It is about replacing the 7-8+ classes/week that we have on Arabic language alone with problem solving classes and coursework. Classes on comparitive religion. Classes on comparitive history. Classes on comparitive political systems. We need to change the way we grade the results. We need to include the qualitative abiliy of creativity and problem solving into the grading mechanism.

    And I will tell you who will fight this reform. It will be the fundies. (Because free minds will threaten them). It will be some of the mothers. (Because what happens when you encourage your kids to think for themselves? Some of them will not accept what you as a parent accepted and swallowed… this is almost dangerous, treason perchance? And I am referring to the social outcome, not political).

    Unfortunately, a change in education will not come from Parliament. They are too busy worrying about bloody segregation. It might not come from the educators – they need to be reeducated themselves. It has to come from the top. There are no two ways about this.

    If it were up to me, I would increase school hours. I would incorporate extra curricular activites into the school system and make graduation contingent upon this. I would re-educate the teachers. Give them a proper incentive system to produce great kids. I would also actually encouage mixed extra curricular events – debate teams, model un, model parliament even .. get people used to mixed interaction. Get the kids to write papers on how to pass personal effects law legislation, (e.g.) .. we need to start building civil society and we need to start doing that in the schools ..

    *sigh* if only …

  12. [deleted]0.32783500 1099323299.832

    Re: The three R’s in our Arab Schools

    You are 110% correct. If only…

  13. mahmood

    Re: The three R’s in our Arab Schools

    Are we ready for this though? What is the catalyst that will get the ball rolling as far as educational reform is concenred? Will this catalyst be the labour market reforms as far as Bahrain is concerned? And will the Crown Prince have any bridges left unburnt because of the opposition he’s facing by the traders and even some in parliament?

    I agree with you though that these changes need to be imposed rather than evolved because allowing things to continue is not an option, and allowing things to evolve will mean the status quo for another generation.

  14. anonymous

    The three R’s in our Arab Schools

    I just read these comments recently. Congratulations on such open discussion and such open forum.
    Regards, Dr. Hanada Taha-Thomure

  15. mahmood

    Re: The three R’s in our Arab Schools

    Dr. Hanada, it is a privilege to have your visit and your comment. Thank you very much for stopping by.

    — mahmood

  16. Namir Hanna

    And to think that 26 billion dollars were spent on education in the Arab world in 2005. Where did it go I dare ask. Reform in our education is the current mot du jour. But that is all it is. Make no mistake, it starts with the parents. it ends with the parents. Stay passive and that is what you’ll have. A passive education system. Some states are more concerned about conserving matter that pales in importance to the waste of a child’s brain. It saddens me every time i look at one of our children and realise how much we rob them of their potential.
    Good job Mahmoud. Dr. Hanada: keep voicing your opinion

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