As a parent, the responsibility of educating your children becomes a challenge as the offspring becomes older. Even more so at this day and age where the Globalness of everything means extra effort is required to ensure that the future generation is well prepared to face whatever happens next.
The advent of private schooling back in Malaysia was already there even before we left. In fact, it was there even when I was in school around 30 years back. The rich kids, and the ones whose parents had visions of early overseas education, had sent their kids to private schools. The difference was, the public schools were considered relatively good and the cost of private education did not co-relate to the benefits gained. Those of us who had studied in government schools could still compete with the former when we were brought together at the tertiary level.
But, as usual, things change, and as the socio-economic factors improve, more families are looking at providing better learning experience for their children. Also, as the role of teachers takes on more importance, the need to attract the best and the brightest to that hollowed profession became a real challenge for the policy makers. Opting out for private education became a more reasonable choice for those looking for what they perceived as a need for quality.
Perhaps, now that the world is flatter, there is more reason to ensure that the child is exposed to the best education that they can, oft translates to, the best that they can afford!
We count oursleves lucky in that the company pays a large portion of the school fees here for the kids. Considering the prices that the schools charge, it would have been prohibitively expensive otherwise. The range of fees of schools in Dubai definitely varies, from a low of free education, to a high of approximately 80,000dhs a year for a primary school. Even so, the excess above the company education assistance, plus the extras (ballet, football, swimming lessons) plus the transport charges, means we need to set aside approximately 2000dhs for the twins per month.
But, even if we were still in Malaysia, I do believe that we would have looked at the private school there for the twins, possibly paying the same amount out of pocket as what we are doing at the moment here. Speaking to a friend who was here a few weeks back, the facilities with regards to sports fields, swimming pools and curriculum appears to be similar.
We have opted for an IB curriculum, as we feel that gives us the most flexibility with the choices of education that we can continue with, taking into account our expatriate life. Thus, if we leave Dubai for greener pastures in the future, they will be able to assimilate easily to whatever new place that we land up in.
The International Baccalaureate system has a holistic view on education, with a lot of parental involvement. Thus my neighbour with her 9 year daughter has to get involved with the planning and creation of a water, heat and crash proof structure for their design class, whilst we have to dress up the kids in costumes for whatever project that the faculty has devised for the day.
For today, the kids have been asked to come to school dressed up as fairies or princess for the girls, while the boys are to dress as soldiers. They have also been asked to bring appropriate toys with their costumes. I wonder what the lesson will be like…