In my office, I see many O level students who want to fast track their career path and enroll at local universities without completing A levels/12 years of schooling. No doubt they can join the work force sooner, but what are some of the pitfalls? If the student is not academically strong, some of them struggle in some of their classes. Those who have completed the requisite courses can ace the program but some become over confident and complacent, little realizing that the difficulty level of the programs progressively increase. Another consequence of fast tracking is that if the student wishes to pursue another programme in a Ministry approved institution in the UAE or at a University overseas, they may not meet the entry requirement. These situations are based on personal observations.
Having led a protected upbringing with limited interactions with the opposite sex, Hasan was suddenly thrown into a whirl pool of new friends, new relationships, some more demanding than others, some that sapped his energy as he was unsure of the ground rules and not wanting to lose face or disappoint new found friends, took on more than he could handle. He spent more time in the emotional roller coaster battling his demons and the demands of his relationships resulting in course work taking a back seat. Grades took a beating and academic probation was the outcome – the parents were left wondering what was wrong.
As parents, we have inculcated in our young strong values and hope they will know right from wrong but an emotionally immature young person can misuse his/her freedom. We can blame it on peer influence, financial liberty or innumerable other external factors but the fact remains that the youngster may feel out of his/her depth and unclear as to how to overcome the predicament/dependence. I cannot over emphasize the importance of treating freedom, responsibly. This observation is based on a few of my cases.
Inability to adjust
Rita had gone to her home country every summer and enjoyed spending time with her extended family. However, when she decided to take up higher education in India and stayed with her loving grandparents, she was unable to adjust. Concerned about her well being, they constantly monitored her, making Rita feel stifled. Used to the comforts of her home in the U.A.E, it was difficult for her to integrate in the grand parent’s home. After a few months, she decided to move into a hostel and there she made friends and adjusted better. While wanting to go back to one’s roots is understandable, foisting a teenager on grandparents may pose challenges that affect the entire family.
9 points to ponder:
1) Should educational plans be linked to long term residence plans (Migration/jobs) the prevailing rules and job situation need to be borne in mind along with immigration policies.
2) Financial planning and realistic aspirations need to form an integral part of the planning process.
3) Young adults should be given money management skills.
4) Research on all aspects of education both home and overseas need to be given priority.
5) Societal expectation and peer pressure should not be the criteria for education overseas.
6) Individual needs and capabilities along with aspirations should form the corner stone of selection of education destination.
7) Male students over 18 years of age need to be sponsored either by an employer or an educational institution to have a residence visa. Should he return from overseas for whatever reason, he can be here only temporarily (On tourist visa).
8) Loans, if any, need to be judiciously sought so that repayment is not a challenge.
9) Parents must be prepared to support any entrepreneurial ventures.