You can still find many historical and traditional buildings in Deira along with contemporary high rises overlooking the waters of Dubai Creek. And this area also houses one of the most important educational landmarks of Dubai, the city’s oldest school Al-Ahmadiya.
Education in Arab at its earliest was given through ‘Katatib’ – a private quarter of a religious elderly male known as Al-Muttawa, where teachings of Holy Koran (Islamic sacred book) in addition to Arabic calligraphy and arithmetic were taught.
Females who taught at Katatib were referred by the name ‘Muttawa’a’, and were more skilled in this profession. The teachers at Katatib were also known as Al-Mulla and Al-Sheikh according to their knowledge of the Islamic religion.
As the education evolved in Arab, semi formal schools were established where the oldest school in Dubai – Al-Ahmadiya School was formed in 1912, founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Ahmed bin Dalmouk – a benevolent pearl merchant.
There were about 200 students at the beginning, to study the few subjects taught at school such as teachings of Holy Koran, Arabic calligraphy and grammar, literature, history, law, mathematics, and even astronomy.
In the past, the students used to sit around their teacher on a mat made from palm leaves. Later in the 1920s benches and desks were introduced, where 3 students can sit on one bench. Education was free at the beginning and eventually a nominal fee was charged. For students coming from underprivileged families, the fee was covered by the founder Ahmed bin Dalmouk himself.
Al-Ahmadiya School had only 2 phases of education, Primary and Advanced, grouped according to the age of the students. By 1932 there was a drop in the economy of the Dubai Emirate, hence many schools ceased to operate including Al-Ahmadiya. And this school was reopened again in 1937. In 1956 the new curriculum of the formal education was introduced to Al-Ahmadiya School, and by 1962 the total number of students amounted to 823 occupying 21 classrooms.
The school was closed in 1963, since it could not handle the overbearing number of students due to its popularity. It was moved to another location with facilities to accommodate more students. Thereafter the site where former Al-Ahmadiya School stood was converted into a museum of public education.
You can spend your holiday in a luxury hotel in Dubai such as the Copthorne Hotel Dubai and visit this historical site of education Al-Ahmadiya School at Deira. There are many attractions in the city to explore and discover while staying at a luxury hotel in Dubai, where finest malls, restaurants and entertainment venues are abundant.
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