Stunning criticism of the state of Emirati education in The National newspaper. Apparently, the textbooks used to educate UAE nationals are hopelessly error-riddled and out-of-date. One history/social studies textbook leaves out huge chunks of pre- and post-Islamic history and refers to local institutions with inaccurate translations. In perhaps the most egregious error, the death of the country’s founder, Shiekh Zayed, goes without mention — despite the fact that he died 7 years ago. The author concludes:

It is utterly unacceptable that the Ministry of Education is imposing this out of date, inaccurate and shoddy publication on schools. There is no excuse for the Ministry’s failure at least to update the facts in the textbook, even if it lacks, after nearly 40 years, the skill to produce better teaching material.

Teachers from government and private schools have told me that they have been trying for years to obtain better textbooks. It is not surprising that many turn to other, more detailed and more authoritative sources of information for their students. If this book is representative of what the Ministry produces, it is not surprising either that so few students actually learn about the UAE at school.

The introduction concludes: “Any constructive comments or suggestions for future improvements are welcomed.” My suggestion: Scrap it.

I agree. Education of the Emirati population can’t start at the collegiate level. More must be done to address the inadequacies of the K-12 system.