I bet that all of you will google the acronym to find out what it stands for? Well it’s the Gulf Comparative studies society. Comparative means that we look at other countries and compare what we have to what they have, and ask the Question of why don’t we have what we have (sort of like what women always do, but the society is made up of men and women).  The comparisons however are in relating to Education. Apparently we spend like crazy on Education but we are still lagging behind despite that fact. If you add the education budget (lower and higher education) in all the gulf countries you will find out that it’s a staggering 26% of the total GDP. Well that’s a lot of money. So why are behind? 

The conference was shedding some light on this fact. First reason is that we improve the infrastructure not the people, we try to train the teachers but we do not follow up if the training is good enough, we buy curricula rather than trying to find the ones that suit us or developing our own, we bring technology and we don’t train the teachers how to use it, we don’t do enough research to find out why boys are not equal to girls when it comes to education. Nor do we find out why when education is over why men reach the glass ceiling while women continue to do the menial jobs?

If you leave the analysis to me, I will not look at gender when I do research! Gender based research are often biased, as women don’t like to reply to questionnaires and men hate to talk in interviews. Also what about freedom in saying what we want to say? Are we free to do any research? Well, we want the liberality in research, and this factor is not studied in this conference. Culture adaptation is a key, even amongst us the GCC countries, we have cultural issues, so when conducting research we need to adapt the research to fit the culture of each country. In actual fact we need to fit the culture of each village in each country, as each one has a different culture.  We need to raise the level of the teachers’ reward, without having motivated teachers we cannot improve the education system, we also need to involve the teachers in any decision to be taken for school reforms, as without their buyouts we cannot implement the reforms properly.  

Anyway, the thing that amazed me is the research about the private tuition, and how some private tutors make so much money.  So why do students go to the same teacher that teaches them in school to receive private tuition? I will remove the fact that some teachers insist on private tuition.  I am more inclined to say that that teacher must be damn good if he or she can make so much money in private tuition. Also the students gender is an issue here? Boys more than girls? Well at least I know that boys prefer smaller class sizes, so to get rid of private tuition, let us reduce the class sizes or have a breakout rooms so the students study with mentors? In any case I think Private tuition main reason is the lack of parental time to teach the kids, hence the high spend on this factor. 

The other amazing research is the one that Dr Hanada did on arabic language. We use dialect when teaching in arabic, hence the low knowledge in the language, she mentioned one word, shoes, and how many different names we have in the Arab world for shoes, which is absolutely true. So she thinks that we should all speak in arabic language rather than in dialect. That should be interesting I guess.

I will leave you to make up your own ideas, but please let me know about them, as the next conference is going to be in Oman, and I would love to be one of the researchers. 

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