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How much do we spend on school fees?

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Quanto spendiamo per le tasse scolastiche
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

E’ stata inaugurata nei giorni scorsi la scuola più cara di Dubai, la North London Collegiate School di Nad Al Sheba: ha una retta di 83.000 aed all’anno per il pre-kindergarten e di 130.000 per i Grades 11 e 12. Gli studenti vengono selezioni accuratamente – il preside ha dichiarato che l’istituto è “academically selective”- e l’obiettivo è di preparare i ragazzi, anzi i presunti piccoli geni, per le migliori università del mondo.

Ma qual è la spesa per l’istruzione negli Emirati Arabi? A rivelarlo è una ricerca condotta dalla ISC Research: complessivamente, in tutti i Paesi del Golfo, le rette scolastiche che ogni anno pagano le famiglie superano i 10 miliardi di dollari, con una media di 8000 dollari all’anno per studente.

Negli Emirati la cifra è, precisamente, di 7747 dollari annui, mentre il Paese più caro dove mandare i figli a scuola è il Qatar, con 9.235 dollari all’anno. Al secondo posto il Kuwait (8069 dollari) e all’ultimo l’Arabia Saudita (6325 dollari).

La società di ricerca ha dichiarato che, nonostante le tasse scolastiche nei Paesi del Golfo siano tra le più alte al mondo, il numero delle scuole internazionali è destinato ad aumentare ancora.

A Dubai ci sono al momento 283 istituti internazionali (compresi gli asili), record assoluto rispetto a qualsiasi altra città nel mondo. Al secondo posto per numero di scuole internazionali, si posiziona Madrid (con 184 scuole), seguita da Abu Dhabi con 154. Come Paese, gli Emirati sono in testa alla classifica anche per numero di studenti iscritti alle scuole internazionali (604.983 studenti), dietro solamente alla Cina.

Durante la presentazione della ricerca, in occasione di IPSEF Middle East Forum, è stato sottolineato come le dinamiche del mercato dell’istruzione, nel Golfo, stiano diventando sempre più complesse, con molti fattori cruciali: dai quadri normativi agli standard di qualità, dalla selezione degli insegnati alla valutazione degli studenti. Con una sempre maggiore partecipazione di privati e di partership pubblico/privato, che cercano di soddisfare la crescente domanda di qualità nell’insegnamento.

Elisabetta Norzi arrived in Dubai in 2008. Born and raised in Turin, after a degree in Modern Literature she moved to Bologna for a master's degree in journalism. Here he knows the reality of the Emilia associations and decides to deal with social issues. Join the editorial office of the Redattore Sociale news agency, collaborate for the Rai Social Action Department and for the Espresso-Repubblica group. Globetrotter for passion, he begins to write freelance reportage with a report on Burma during the "saffron revolution", taken from the main Italian newspapers and televisions. After several years as a correspondent from Dubai (Peacereporter, Linkiesta), he founded Dubaitaly.

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Dubai Smart City: an App for citizens

"An app to tame them, an app to find them, an app to grab them and chain them in the phone." We are obviously talking about access to services and how Dubai is preparing for the new decade.

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Dubai Smart City: una App per i cittadini
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

To the-Gollum he squeezes his cell phone with enthusiasm, his black eyes thirsty for control, making his desire for possession shine through. "My membership card ...". Muttering to himself and his alter ego, Sir Smeagol, a guttural mantra resounds in the plain of Dubai County. "An App to tame them, an App to find them, an App to look at them and chain them in the phonethe". We are obviously talking about access to services.

We can not blame him: often and willingly it is a great breakdown of boxes having to interface with so many Apps and above all remembering all the damned logins. Not to mention the various claustrophobic requests for data that each department seems to invent together with a selective group of Elves. Well, finally there seems to be something really Smart, tailor-made for us Sand Hobbit, which promises to simplify everyday life.

The Emirates are among the first countries to have set up a structure dedicated to the Smart Government service. Dubai has constantly focused on digitalization since 2015, closing technological gaps and simplifying bureaucracy, controlling its movements. To give a general view, the dedicated website has been created, smartgoverment.ae, while the App is already a widespread reality Dubai Now.

Smart City

The road to a real one Smart City sees the implementation of different strategies that combine process optimization, through the use of technologies. The transformation starts from the study of traffic and roads, which is in all respects (oddly enough, I would say) the main needle of the scale to determine the intelligence level of the city. Put this way, it would seem that the focus on public transport is overshadowing, while it is quite the opposite. Smart Cities are based, among other things, on a network of constantly connected sensors, called Internet Of Things (IoT, the internet of things).

IoT is important because it allows the optimization of everything from the circulation of things and people to the distribution and access to resources. This subsequently impacts in various areas, above all bureaucratic and indirect services. Some examples are the elimination of the card, continuous access to public services, portals for guaranteed employment or payment, and last but not least transport and related activities. Once the structure is set up, the city needs to automate the collection of information and requests, and to do so it is certainly faster to move on public properties than on private ones.

The result after four years of efforts can be seen not only in the streamlining of services to residents and businesses, but also from other factors that make Dubai closer to total automation every day. Government of happiness, online registration for service providers, payment of bills, renewal of car insurance and much more, all online.

What is Dubai Now

Dubai Now is the App developed by the local government to include all the services necessary to live and carry out any type of business in Dubai. At the moment it is possible to access as many as 50 government services. The App is available on stores and the platform can also be accessed from a computer via the official site.

Apart from the obvious convenience of having at hand any service you are looking for in a more simple and direct way, the App also shows the Government's efforts to centralize the activities of as many as 22 Emirati departments, in compliance with the vision of Sheikh Mohammed for Dubai 2021. In addition to bills and fines, you can also access services for your NOL card, Dubai Police, browse the list of doctors and clinics, collect information on how to register a company and much more.

Surely this is part of a larger plan, which the city has put in place to better manage the expectations of growth and which seems to get a further boost starting from Expo 2020 and also in view of the transformations that are taking place in the region. The Middle East, led by the financial giant of Saudi Arabia, is opening up more and more to Western markets and the Emirates, once again, are racing for records and adopting technologies like never before.

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Happy Halloween

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Happy Halloween

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

It is not part of our tradition, but here, where Anglo-Saxon culture dominates, it is a heartfelt or at least very celebrated holiday. What are we talking about? Halloween obviously: loved by children, but also by many adults. Around the city the theme parties are proposed by almost all the premises and especially within the compound, but also in the towers, small armies of transvestite children ring at the doors asking for their Trick or Treat? (Trick or treat?).

If you hang a pumpkin, a skeleton, a ghost or any other decoration in front of your house, this means that you intend to participate in the party and the children will also knock on your door to have some candy or a cup of cake (so don't forget to stock up ).

Here is the "regulation" that circulates these days on the various expat Facebook groups in the city:

  • Offer only candies or sweets individually wrapped (therefore avoid homemade products or loose candies)
  • Do not knock on any door without it being decorated or with the lights off, so as not to disturb families who do not wish to celebrate
  • Turn off the lights or remove the decorations if you have run out of sweets
  • Do not go knocking after 8pm, maximum 8.30pm
  • If you are in the car, pay attention, within the compounds, to the children who cross the streets and report to the security cars that they are moving too fast

Here you will find instead the advice of Timeout Dubai on the best parties and brunches in the city.

Between legend and history

The origins of Halloween are to be found in the Celtic culture which, on October 31, celebrated the end of the year. Since it was a peasant reality, October represented the end of summer, therefore the time to shelter crops and livestock, and to celebrate, before facing the winter. And on this last night of the year, the belief was that everyone, including the spirits and the dead, roamed the earth for fun. The tradition of "trick or treat"? It is thought to derive from the fact that the Celts feared the jokes of elves and evil spirits and therefore offered them sweets to keep them busy and distant. Similar meaning also for the pumpkin: it was carved with threatening faces and a candle was inserted inside to keep the spirits of the dead away from the houses.

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Smallfoot, the snowman in the desert

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Smallfoot, l'uomo delle nevi nel deserto

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

It will be all that coat, white like the papal habit, but having seen "Smallfoot & #8211; My snow friend "in these days, during which the media continually remind us of the historic imminent visit of His Holiness to the Emirates, made me reflect on the message of the film, and on how important it is to explain it to our growing children here: in an environment that is definitely open and multicultural, but with delicate keys that it is better to avoid touching in the wrong way.

The metaphor of the stones on which the absolute and indisputable truth is indelibly carved is a direct reference not only to the most dogmatic religions & #8211; or to the more dogmatic interpretations of otherwise reasonably quiet religions - but also to the fixity towards which human thought is moving, in any field. The small group of young Yeti who secretly collect finds as evidence of the existence of worlds in contrast with the dictates of written laws, and their natural curiosity, which is opposed to the fear and desire to protect their species, the origin of legends transformed in truth by the ancient Stone Watchers, they are a perfect mirror of many situations which are now extreme of reality, almost everywhere. From religion to racism, from political positions to scientific theories, even reaching culinary obsessions and food preferences, it seems that our world of adults has become the parody of a cartoon for children, although many times starting from noble intentions or in any case from good faith motivations to support this or that thesis and belief.

Knowledge is power, but how to get this knowledge and what to do with it? The central question of the film is by no means trivial. The answer of "Smallfoot" is simple: it is the way to approach knowledge that makes the difference. What counts is the desire to understand others openly and without prejudice, to be ready to ask and receive questions and to give and get answers with curiosity by checking everything in person, without accepting any lessons from above as cast gold, but at the same time without necessarily to despise or consider in bad faith and animated by who knows what evil targets those who see it differently.

Expressing doubts and seeking clarity does not necessarily mean launching an inactive challenge. At the same time, positions that may appear retrograde and conservative may have deeper roots than they might seem. Only by accepting this discourse can it be possible to overcome hostilities and fears even initially justified, and to find a common language, points of contact and compromises of peaceful coexistence.

Of course, it is not easy to go fishing for the right words, not only to get the message to the children, but also and above all to get it by living in a country like this, with the always thought of having to subsequently avoid gaffes and potentially unpleasant situations with strangers. In this sense, then, "Smallfoot" becomes a precious ally. And then, some dialogues are hilarious and the music is really beautiful.

Good vision!

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