Memoirs of a Saudi Ph.D. student: Honing analytical skills

SaudiWomanStudyingBY : Hatoon Kadi

These days I get to spend very little time with my kids. I wake them up in the morning, make sure that they had breakfast and they are dressed properly for school. Then I drive them to their schools. Now they are grown enough to feel embarrassed when I kiss and hug them in front of their schools. Despite their protests several time, I stick to my habit and have made it clear to them that no matter how much they object to my rules, I will continue to shower my love on them in the way I want. God, that’s not fair. Mothers always have the right to be listened to and obeyed even if they are wrong.
Anyway, I get to see them only on my return home mostly just before their bedtime. Actually, I am tied up writing my thesis, which does not seem to have an end to it. Due to this apparently never-ending exercise, I have to stay in the office until late in the night.
During this very short time that I get to spend with them I try to strike small conversation with them by asking about their day and irk them by asking questions like: Did you take a shower? Why is the homework not done yet? Why are your uniforms lying on the floor?
They can’t help it. After all, they are boys. Throwing their clothes on the floor appears to be a part of the male genetic makeup. They usually instinctively throw them here and there without noticing the mess it creates. Interestingly, whenever I call them to collect their clothes to hang them properly, they give a blank stare as if trying to figure out as to how did they land there in the first place. They literally don’t seem to remember.
One of these days, they took a shower and to my astonishment brushed their teeth without any ruckus. My 11-year-old son out of nowhere asked some questions. “Isn’t it unfair that men get paid more than women?, “Why most bosses in big companies are men?, Don’t you think you need to something for women?”
Keeping in view his age, I was surprised at the seriousness of his questions and his understanding of the social norms. As the general election in the United Kingdom is just around the corner, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown had visited his school and met with students.
When I attended parents-teachers meeting, one of his teachers praised him for his brightness but needed to focus more on her lectures instead of coming up with his own ideas. At that moment, I realized that their education system is not based on feeding students with doses of information but it is totally based upon inculcating in the students analytical skill as well. I bitterly look back at how I myself was taught. I remember having really bright classmates but their personalities were suppressed, as nobody was allowed to express an opinion that was different from what was in the books. I myself used to be a bookworm but I would keep everything to myself due to which I would feel isolated. Though our education system is still based, to a great extent, on bombarding students with information without helping them hone their analytical skills, but I am optimistic that things in my country will change for the better.
Unfortunately, there is a major drawback of the western education system from my viewpoint. I understand and respect that in the West they value personal choices and they respect differences and fight all sorts of discrimination, but we have certain red lines drawn by our religion, which we cannot and should not cross.

Article Source : Arab News

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