x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Ajman parents must send children overseas for western education

Despite Ajman's boom, the absence of a single European or American school is forcing parents to take their children elsewhere for an education.

AJMAN // Despite Ajman's economic progress and population boom, the absence of a single European or American school is forcing parents to take their children elsewhere for an education. Only UAE and Indian curriculums are offered in Ajman. Some parents say they must take their children to Sharjah and Dubai in search of a western-style education. There are plans to introduce British and American school curriculums, but education officials could not say when.

Dennis Keown, a Canadian national and owner of a computer trading company in the Ajman Free Zone, said he has not found a suitable school for his six-year-old daughter. Mr Keown brought his family to the UAE in January. "We need some school of our own since our numbers have increased in the emirate," he said. He said he was reluctant to consider educational programmes in other emirates because he did not want to make his daughter endure long treks to school.

Aidah Abdul Aziz, 40, an Egyptian parent, said when she failed to find an appropriate school for her two children, she decided to enrol them at Al Shola Private School in Sharjah, which offers a British curriculum. Outhman Abdullah had to take his two children to Al Maarifa Private School in Sharjah. "We are now more confident with European curriculums, as they are leading in education and technology. Authorities should allow us to have choice in Ajman," he said.

Hussein Ali, 35, a Sudanese-Canadian, said he took his 10-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl to a GEMS school in Dubai when he learnt all the institutions in Sharjah were full. "Imagine they have every day to go to Dubai and come back with all the congestion on the road. It's too much," he said. Issam al Ghafeiya, 17, an Emirati who finished Grade 13 in a local curriculum last year, had to go to Preston University Ajman to complete a English language course to continue his education at an American university.

"If there was an American school in Ajman, I would have attended it and wouldn't need these TOEFL courses. My dad is a graduate of an American university and has always promised to take me to America for higher studies," he said. Musa al Gharib, the head of the Ajman Education Zone, could not predict when American and European curriculums would be introduced. "With the rising population in the emirate, we are sure many people would like to have European and American curriculums. We are still working on bringing in schools that would offer these curriculums," he said.

@Email:ykakande@thenational.ae