Married female Emirati students pursuing Higher Education: striking a balance
Tennant, L; Saqr, S; Stringer, P
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Opportunities for females to pursue higher education in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been recognized as important and strengthened significantly over the last decade. Our research was an attempt to gain insight on the challenges and barriers faced by female married Emirati students while undertaking B. Ed degrees at Emirates College of Advanced Education. The research was positioned within a sociocultural framework of the UAE context. Does a ‘One size fits all’ model in higher education programs cater equally for the needs of married and unmarried students? With this in mind, our research aimed to: • Identify challenges faced by female, married Emirati students pursuing careers as future teachers of the UAE • Determine strategies used by female, married Emirati students to overcome their particular challenges • Identify support systems that influence this group of students and facilitate their studies • Design and develop support systems at the college level intended to assist female, married students complete their studies successfully. The discussion we propose will be initiated by sharing a summary of the findings gained from a survey conducted with 100 female, married Emirati students at different stages of their study (Cohort groupings years 1-4). The conversation will illuminate the challenges faced by this group of students and the complexities of balancing married life juxtaposed with the demands of being a student teacher within a 21st century tomorrow’s schools framework. The need for tertiary level support services that empower and support the female, married Emirati student will also be discussed within the lived reality of family, community and society at large.