UK’s partnership with Oman

This is with reference to the article about the UK wanting to be Oman’s main partner in training Oman’s youth. H E Jonathan Wilks, the recently appointed UK ambassador to Oman, expresses confidence and the will for Britain to become Oman’s main partner in tackling youth unemployment as well as educating and training the Omani youth.

Not for once does he appear to contemplate if Oman actually desires Britain to “lead the way” in training young Omanis. Surely, Oman is in a position to select its consulting partners based on their qualifications and track records, as it would be done in any other business. The 2014 world education ranking report (a k a PISA study) positions the UK on place 27 (out of 67 countries), way behind the US, Canada, many European nations or Japan and South Korea.

Similarly, the rate of youth unemployment in the UK, albeit being below the EU average, is still higher than in the US, Canada, Germany, Austria or the Netherlands. The UK is by far not leading the way in education. In fact, since the last PISA study in 2006, its ranking has tumbled significantly. One queries what exactly qualifies the UK to become the main partner in education for Oman and can’t help but wonder if some leftover colonial arrogance is the motivator in this assumption.

Annette Kleefeld, Via e-mail

SOURCE: Muscat Daily