I avoided mentioning anything about schools for so long because I am very opinionated about all the schools here in Al Ain and am definitely not an objective person to ask about them.
On the other hand, I remember coming here to Al Ain and having that desperate feeling of panic because there is a great big black hole of nothingness as far as information goes for this lovely town. (And I really do mean Lovely – I am not being sarcastic – I love it here.)
My two anonymous friends, I am so sorry that there is not much information for you guys out there. It is a terrible situation to be in when you need to make these important decisions and I remember that feeling all to well.
Cairo girl, I will let you do the honors with Choifat information….. I tried and the darn post went on and on and on – heck, I could have published it as a short story! Needless to say, I would not send my children to Choifat if it were the last school on the face of the earth and I had to face a shooting squad on my knees with a blind fold. OK, so, I’ve gone a little far, but not too far….
Madar… Well, Madar is run by Edugates, and the man who runs Edugates is a former manager in the Sabis (Choifat) organization. Enough said.
Al Ain American School is owned by probably one of the nicest local men I have ever met in my life and the principal is an American lady who I happen to know. She is a wonderful educator and has beautiful credentials, but I have heard that her staff find it difficult to work with/for her. I do not know. I have no personal experience with this. The extent of my personal experience with AAAS is that a friend and I did the initial consultation with the owner over the summer before the school opened and made recommendations as to the curriculum and running of the school. I have spoken to one person who is sending her child there and they are very happy, but a fair representation of the overall quality, it is not. It is an American Curriculum. When my partner and I did the initial consultation with AAAS, we recommended that they use the Harcort school books and adopt a brain based learning/play to learn format. I do not know if this is what the school has done as my consultation with the school ended before the school was completed.
Emirates National School is the type of school that will take your breath away – kind of like a beautiful woman who walks into a crowded room. The facilities are state of the art and plentiful. The teachers are top notch (OK, so I am friends with over 50% of them….I am NOT bias!), and the current principal is a forward thinking practical dreamer who does the best with what she has. The problem? This school has issues in the management which they hope you don’t notice because the bling of beautiful facilities is blinding you. The management is a contradiction to what the school is supposed to stand for and does cause issues in the classroom, but not so much so that it puts the children at risk. This year, the classes are randomly organized and therefore the level of learning in any given class is that of the lowest level child in the class. There are talks of reorganizing for next year – which would be a huge boost to the school if it happens. The change that needs to happen is that students should be grouped according to learning level and taught in stages so that the accelerated students can benefit from more stimulation, average students can continue to flourish at the correct level for them and below average students aren’t frustrated with levels that are too difficult for them. This is just one problem. Within the teaching staff there are other issues caused by management. This makes for a difficult working environment for the teachers and therefore creates a higher turn over rate. Not something you want to see in a school, but from what I can gather, is quite a common phenomenon here in the gulf.
Future school – WOW. I really don’t want to go there. I have extremely personal feelings about this school that are enormously negative. It all stems from the personal experience I had while working there for 7 months. The teachers are good, the facilities leave a lot to be desired (common toilets???) and the “management”….well….. The man who owns the school has a powerful family name and has wasta that is only talked about in fairy tales. Last time I said anything negative about the school, I was fired from my job and no one would hire me for almost a year after. That’s all I will say.
As far as not being able to talk to your child’s teacher, it is common practice here in Al Ain. I would guess that AAESS does not follow this practice, but it is not unique to ENS. The majority of the schools here in Al Ain have a no teacher contact policy and therefore employee someone called a parent liaison or a parent care officer who is the link between the teacher and the parent(s). I do not know why this practice exists. It is a point of HUGE frustration for most of us and no one can explain to me the reasoning behind this practice. It is ridiculous and stupid, if I may say so….
Ok, that’s it. I am not talking about schools anymore, OK? I am finished. I am really scared that this entire post will somehow find me in my sleep and choke me. I have a car payment that needs to be paid for 5 more years and I can not afford to be fired from my job again…….