Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Higher standards good for children

Adding a new international qualification standard for nursery-school teachers is a positive step.

Parents who have spent anxious hours trying to select a nursery school for their toddlers will be delighted to learn, in the news pages of The National today, that a new standard of accreditation for teachers in these schools has arrived in the UAE.

The whole idea of entrusting your precious child to caregivers you barely know, employed by a nursery or school you may have had to select in a hurry, can be daunting, not to say terrifying.

And the process is not made any easier when parents consider the findings of a 2011 study that said that over 80 per cent of nursery teachers across this country have not acquired the educational qualifications appropriate to the job.

To be sure, this research was done by the company now introducing the new standards, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs. But nobody can doubt that some nursery schools are better than others, and nobody should doubt that this matters. A good nursery school can lay the foundations for decades, not to say a whole lifetime, of successful learning. But a badly chosen nursery, with an unfit teacher, raises short- and long-term risks no parent wants to contemplate.

The new credentialing programme, based on a US model but customised for the Arab world, will start slowly; so far only about 30 women have applied for the Child Development Associate certificate, which will be awarded to those who come up to a high standard.

It stands to reason that nursery teachers who have the new credential will speedily command higher wages than the majority without; soon demand for the certificate will increase - and standards throughout the sector will improve.

That's a fine step toward improving the opportunity our children experience. But qualified staff is not the only vital requirement for a sound preschool. The Villagio day care fire in Doha last May, which killed 13 children and six adults, was the worst possible way to bring attention to the issue of fire safety, but since that tragedy operators, teachers, building owners and parents have all been highly focused on secure premises. In this country, facilities are inspected by both Civil Defence and the Ministry of Social Affairs; officials, too, will be doubly vigilant after Doha.

Pre-school starts children on the educational journey that can take them to a satisfying life. We've all got to get it right, for their sake.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 A still from the 27-second black-and-white video that was taken using a satellite owned and operated by Skybox Imaging.

Burj Khalifa stars in HD video from space

A 27-second black and white video of a plane flying over Dubai's skyscrapers captures the imagination of some.

 Falconry is an activity where they demonstrate how falcons catch prey while flying at a speed of almost 360 kilometres per hour. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National

In pictures: Adventure in the desert at Abu Dhabi's Qasr Al Sarab

Mohammad Ashfaq, an adventure guide at the Qasr Al Sarab resort, Abu Dhabi, showcases a day in his working life.

 JP Duminy played a cameo knock of 52 not out from 35 balls to tip the game in Delhi Daredevils' favour. Pawan Singh / The National

Kolkata Knight Riders lose way as Duminy sizzles for Delhi Daredevils

JP Duminy keeps his head as cameo at the death helps swing it in Delhi's favour in Dubai after captain Karthik plays the anchor role.

 A projectionist takes a break in the projection room at Ariana Cinema in Kabul, Afghanistan. Going to the movies, once banned under the Taliban, has become a popular form of entertainment in Kabul, but women and children rarely take part. All photos by Photo by Jonathan Saruk / Reportage by Getty Images

Afghan cinema: Forbidden Reel

The lights go down and the projector whirls into action as Sher Mohammed, 35, begins his routine, bouncing back and forth between two projectors, winding reels, and adjusting the carbon arc lamps inside the projectors.

 The mother removes the noose with the help of her husband from around the neck of Balal.

In pictures: Mother forgives her son’s killer as he awaited his execution

An Iranian mother spared the life of her son’s convicted murderer with an emotional slap in the face as he awaited execution with the noose around his neck.

Tyrese reunited with Fazza

Tyrese today posted on his social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) his pleasure at being reunited with the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National