Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Education in Frustration in Education

Why oh why did I ever decide to let the kids go back to mainstream education, or decide to home-school them in the first place?  If I didn't, I never would've known how great it is and how greatly main stream education pale in comparison.  We did all the right things - but it just doesn't want to work!!  The reason why we took the great leap to come with Tinus before he had his residential visa was to get the children settled into school by the time school starts in September.  The school started today, and the kids are not in school.

Why - you ask?  "Een bliksemse god-almagtige man," to quote Dalene Matthee.* from Fiela's child We started eliminating from a long list of potential schools in May, when we came out here for the first time.  The children were accepted at all the schools we've applied at and we chose the school we did, for many reasons.  Unfortunately the school we chose was the only school who wanted to have a pre-admissions interview with us.  On request they informed us they wanted to see us because the children were home-schooled for two years.  Due to Eid the interview was postponed to just three days before the school started.  

In the mean time we had to decline the other seat offers and on Saturday we met with the school's principal and a person called Willem - a psychologist - who seem to have completed his education in a cave somewhere in the eighteenth century, because he was not even anti-home-schooling, just completely clueless about it.  The interview was set up to inform us that they would like a complete psycho-ed report on both children.  Could they not tell us this over email, like a month ago??!

Still hopeful we go to see the educational psychologist.  She requests an interview with us, we schedule the interview and arrive – still hopeful.  She asks us why we want the psycho-ed report, we tell her the school requires this, she tells is this will cost FIVE …THOUSAND… FIVE …HUNDRED …DIRHAM… PER… CHILD, and charges us Dhs750-00 for this session.  I kid you not – that was it – around one and a half thousand rand for twenty minutes - Tinus took some time filling in a form asking things like his name, his employer, nationality and phone number and address.

We cannot afford this right now, even if we could (pay R22 000.00 for two tests which cost R3 000.00 in South Africa) I think out of principle one shouldn’t.  The children are not on Tinus’ medical scheme here yet and we simply do not have the cash to do this now.  And here we are – back to square one, after two months of arrangements and organization, of flying to and fro, having the children write hours upon hours of admission exams – all the planning, dreaming – even the house hunting, for nothing.

Quick revise – applied to the one school we left off our list because of its location – on the other side of Dubai, where, when we were here eight years ago, there was nothing – unfamiliar territory.  Quick phone call – they have space, if the kids pass the assessment exams (Dhs 1500-00 per paper per child – ka-ching) the kids are in! Tests scheduled for next week Tuesday – hold thumbs.  We are now going to wait until we know the children are definitely accepted before we start house hunting – Mirdif- Al Warca area. 

On the medical and visa front:  Tinus’ visa medical is scheduled for Thursday (tomorrow) and he’s starting the chemo on Sunday/Monday.  I’m not sure when exactly because his work schedule is quite busy and he needed to get a PEC (??) scan before the chemo, but this couldn’t happen because there is only one of these Pec-scan machines in Dubai and he’s got stuff scheduled.  (Lack of details due to sleeping subject.)   I wish we could’ve had the schooling sorted out; I would really like to focus on Tinus and help him through this.  It would seem though that the worse of the chemo side effects are expected only a week after the actual administration.  Hopefully we’ll have the kids settled in school by then - Insh’Allah.   

* Daleen Matthee is a South Africa Author who is best known for her four "Forest books" set against the backdrop of the beautiful Knysna Forest: Circles in a ForestFiela's ChildThe Mulberry Forest and Dreamforest.

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