Joanne Bladd’s article focuses on the idea of rethinking the Abu Dhabi school system. Bladd demonstrates a clear understanding of the current system by explaining the challenges that exist within the current system. She acknowledges that the current education system in Abu Dhabi faces challenges. Bladd argues that the current curriculum is not diverse enough to meet modern market needs. Bladd’s perspective on the functionality of the Abu Dhabi education is based on the fact that the world has over the years become more globalized (Bladd, 2010, p.9). This means that there is more integration both socio-economically and politically among both state and non-state actors within the international system. Bladd’s concern is the idea that without a competitive education system, it is going to be difficult for Abu Dhabi to be able to favorably compete with other actors in the global scene. Though Bladd’s concerns are genuine, it is important to understand that Abu Dhabi still remains economically strong today. This is because the society has large oil deposits that have made it possible for the country to benefit from an industrial led economy. Despite the rankings of the Abu Dhabi education, the country has remained a major player in the global scene.
However, one of the great points that Bladd makes is the idea that Abu Dhabi has to rethink its future. An industrial-led economy is short-term. This is because resources may over time become depleted or may at times fluctuate in terms of world prices. The reliance on natural resource is not economically secure for Abu Dhabi. This argument has some weight considering some of the phenomena that has faced some of the countries in the Middle East. Political instability in Syria and the EU sanction of Iran have brought the economies of these Middle Eastern nations to their knees (Fayazmanesh, 2011, p.37). Instead of investing in only the short term, there is a need for Abu Dhabi to invest on an economic system that will stabilize its economy in the long run. According to Bladd, the investment in better education will create a situation whereby Abu Dhabi will have a more skilled human capital. This will expand the level of innovation and entrepreneurship within the work force. This is instrumental for the perpetual growth of Abu Dhabi’s economy in the long run.
Bladd hails the efforts of Abu Dhabi authorities to restructure the school system. Efforts such as the creation of bilingual schools where students are taught entirely in English are a noble undertaking. This will make it possible for students graduating from Abu Dhabi schools to enroll in other institutions of higher learning in other nations and at the same time favorably compete for job opportunities in the global arena. One of the strong characteristic of Bladd’s work is that he does not shy off to explain that despite her recommendation, the restructuring of an education system that is already in existence is difficult. The government apparatus in Abu Dhabi has to mobilize resources in order to be able to create a more competitive education system.
In conclusion, Bladd’s article clearly articulates perspective regarding the current Abu Dhabi education system. She explains the benefits that would be realized with the restructuring of the current education system in the country. In addition, she is quick to point out some of the challenges that are likely to be faced in the implementation of this restructuring process.
Bladd, J. (2010). Abu Dhabi Rethinks The Classroom. The Economic Review, 1, 08-12.
Fayazmanesh, S. (2011). The United States and Iran sanctions, wars, and the policy of dual containment. New York: Routledge.