“A quality education has the power to transform societies in a single generation, provide children with the protection they need from the hazards of poverty, labour exploitation and disease, and give them the knowledge, skills, and confidence to reach their full potential.”― Audrey Hepburn, the iconic American actor.
“A quality education has the power to transform societies in a single generation, provide children with the protection they need from the hazards of poverty, labour exploitation and disease, and give them the knowledge, skills, and confidence to reach their full potential,” said Audrey Hepburn, the iconic American actress.
With the variety of schooling choices available in the UAE, parents often find themselves asking: is a quality education dependent on the fees a school charges?
The simple answer is no. What makes a school good has less to do with the school building or the socio-economic standards of those who go there. There are successful schools that offer free education and unsuccessful schools that cost a lot of money.
What are the key factors that make a school good?
To begin with, a good school will have a strong and professional staff and teachers. It will have a broad curriculum available to all students, a philosophy that every child has the ability to attain a high level of success. It will have a school climate that is conducive to learning, is safe, clean, caring and well-organised.
It will have on-going assessment systems that support good instruction and have learning and teaching practices that centre around every student. Lastly, it will have a high level of parent and community involvement and support.
Students of such schools achieve results that are above national standards, and are continuously recognised with local, regional and international awards and accolades that highlight their academic achievements or their talent in areas of arts, sports, drama, etc. These students also go on to attend some of the best universities and colleges around the world.
If we look at the best-performing school systems around the world, we see that they provide the opportunity for high-quality education to all students evenly. In Iceland, Estonia and Finland, for example, students tend to perform well regardless of their social background. We have also seen that ‘public schools’ systems in countries like New Zealand and Australia are filled to capacity and students there not only enjoy school, but have high success rates.
Role of good education is vast
We know that education plays a key role in providing individuals with the knowledge, skills and competencies needed to participate effectively in society and in the economy. In addition, education plays a large role in improving public health, civic participation, political interest and happiness.
We also know that having a good education plays a large part in finding a job and earning a good salary. It has been noted that highly educated individuals are less affected by unemployment trends, typically because educational attainment makes an individual more attractive in the workforce. Obtaining a good-quality education also has its social benefits. Studies have shown that educated individuals live longer, participate more actively in politics and in the communities in which they live; they commit fewer crimes and rely less on social assistance.
In some countries, we know that good-quality education can, and will, go a long way in providing a solution to poverty.
Parents are not just looking for a school with a high-quality education that will assist their children in coming up with their answers through exploration, experimentation and conversation, they are looking for many other things. They want their children to be guided by teachers, learn values and be provided with tools they will need in this ever-evolving world; and this can be done through classroom learning or through extra-curricular activities.
Everybody knows the value of a good school and, sometimes, parents will do whatever it takes to get their child enrolled in one. They will do anything in their power to give their children a head-start. Research has shown that parents are willing to spend more of their disposable income as an investment in their children’s education.
(The writer is Principal, Gems Westminster School-Ras Al Khaimah.)