Saturday, September 21, 2013

Life is Unfair

School is in full force.  It seems to be going well, but I am never sure what to expect.  I am not in the education industry, so I don't know how the year should go much less what makes a school in Dubai "good", or one of the "best".

Nor do I have any idea where it is that I would get the "best" value for my money.  I wish I did, but I am most certain that I do not know what that should mean from an education perspective.

Like all the other expats here, I am paying for a private education for my child, and hoping I made the right choice of school for them.  I do question it from time to time because I hear a lot of other people questioning it.

But is it really that bad?

I went to Africa for the first time in 2004 with my husband and some close friends.  We toured Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.  The main focus of the trip was to experience nature, photography and the animals.  I saw a lot of amazing things over the two weeks we were there, but the most vivid memory I have from that trip was a visit to a local school in Zambia.

I remember so much about that visit - the feel of the weather, the distinct smell of the land, the excitement of the children that someone came to visit.  It is still very vivid.

I anticipated a one room school, but I was not prepared for what I saw.  One room with desks and a small chalk board.  That was all.  Nothing else.

Each child had a notebook and a pencil.  The very few other supplies that were there - a few reading books with lessons about AIDS, and some pencils - were kept locked up so they would not be stolen.

I knew of the challenges in Africa, but to see them was completely different.  Even without a child at the time, this was an incredibly difficult reality to face.  Despite poverty, the children were smiling and happy.  We toured the rest of the land - the new well outside was about the only other thing to see at the time.

While it was very difficult to visit, I also found it very hard to leave.  Its hard to leave knowing you go back to a different kind of life and they stay there.  "Life is not fair?"  I curse the reality of that.

So if you ask me about the schools in Dubai.  My answer is that I don't really know what defines a good school here.  What I do know is that life is unfair.

Twabuka Community School, Zambia

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