University in the UAE First to Offer “Bachelor’s” Degree in Motherhood

Two women in hijab sit on a bench, eating.Will society value motherhood more, when offered by universities as a degree subject?
A new university program in Ajman in the United Arab Emirates is claiming to be the first in the world to offer a bachelor’s degree in the “mothering profession.” Claiming that how to mother is no longer passed down from mother to daughter, Dr Nizar al Ani, the university director, said that the program aspires to improve mothering skills, lower dependence on maids, and decrease the divorce rate.

The Ministry of Higher Education has accredited the program, which divided into three sections: “The first deals with women’s civic and legal rights, including her Islamic rights as a woman and mother. The second teaches her how to run a household with courses in cooking, home decoration, personal fitness and grooming. The third focuses on raising children.”

I find it sad that we have come to a point where motherhood is so neglected that a university thinks it must be formally taught. A pilot program in Canadian schools that involved bringing a baby and mother to school once a month resulted in a drastic decrease in the level of bullying and violence at the school. Teaching parents to recognize children’s cues and respond appropriately, is in important tool in raising a sensitive and compassionate children.

I admit to having mixed feelings about an academic degree in motherhood. On the one hand, I agree with the university director that motherhood has become neglected. Skills normally associated with women, like cooking or sewing, as well as caring for children, are devalued in our culture. Being “just a mother” is considered more or less useless, since it doesn’t earn money.

Raising motherhood to an academic level is a step toward recognizing that mothering skills are important and necessary for society. Mothers, along with fathers, are responsible for transmitting our values and culture to the next generation and that deserves recognition.

On the other hand, not every skill mentioned belongs at the academic level. Teaching students personal fitness and grooming sounds more like a finishing school than a college, and they have little to do with motherhood. And the article doesn’t describe the parenting skills that will actually be taught.

I also wonder why there is no parallel course for fathers. We cannot “fix” motherhood, if it is indeed broken, by focusing only on women. For  mothers to value their “profession,” the rest of society must value it as well. Mothers and fathers, as well children and adults of all ages, need to be educated about the importance of their interaction with their children, the need to teach them life skills as well as employable skills.

As these children become adults, they along with their mothers and fathers will help form a society that is more productive and inter-connected, and with an interest in solving our world’s environmental, social and political problems.

More green posts by Hannah Katsman:

Can the Biolite Stove Generate Clean Cooking for the Middle East?

Make a Spout for a Spice Bag Using an Old Bottle

Wear Your Baby in a Sling for Eco-Benefits

Photo credit: FaceMePLS

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7 thoughts on “University in the UAE First to Offer “Bachelor’s” Degree in Motherhood”

  1. Mike says:

    I agree! There doesn’t seem to be any movement in the Islamic world in respect to woman’s rights. In fact, the “movement” appears to be in the opposite direction.

    In regards to places like Iraq and Afghanistan, as soon as the American and other foreign troops leave, things will go right back to the “status quo”; especially in Afghanistan.

  2. Yes, Maurice, despite the mention of “rights,” there is the concern that the course’s goal is to teach wives to be subservient.

  3. Maurice Picow says:

    Interesting. But regarding woman’s rights under Islam, the real problem is not in regards to what is noted in the Quran, but more as to how women are treated by men who tend to be very dominating; especially in countries like Saudi Arabia.

    Then there is the issue of honor killings, which unfortunately occur in Israel as well.

  4. Yosefa says:

    I like the idea of offering additional education in the skills necessary to be a good wife and mother. In addition, college today has a lot to do with committing to something, doing and work, and finishing. Therefore, a degree in motherhood would fulfill this idea. Surely motherhood can be more demanding than astrophysics, so why shouldn’t it be a real degree?

    However, I think there is really something wrong with elementary and secondary education around the world if people can’t find jobs or get married without completing college. It is assumed that if you have the requisite money and intelligence you will continue on to college directly after high school, regardless of what you plan to do for a living. This degree is filling a need for women who are going to college while they are waiting to get married. It’s a great idea. Why should they be studying psychology or art, when they really want to be homemakers?

    But wouldn’t it be great if primary and secondary education would equip us with all the basic life skills? If we could graduate high school as fully educated and socially responsible citizens ready to enter the workforce? Only people needing special education for highly skilled jobs should go to university. The rest of the population should do internships and get real life experience.
    I like the idea of offering additional education in the skills necessary to be a good wife and mother. In addition, college today has a lot to do with committing to something, doing and work, and finishing. Therefore, a degree in motherhood would fulfill this idea. Surely motherhood can be more demanding than astrophysics, so why shouldn’t it be a real degree?

    However, I think there is really something wrong with elementary and secondary education around the world if people can’t find jobs or get married without completing college. It is assumed that if you have the requisite money and intelligence you will continue on to college directly after high school, regardless of what you plan to do for a living. This degree is filling a need for women who are going to college while they are waiting to get married. It’s a great idea. Why should they be studying psychology or art, when they really want to be homemakers?

    But wouldn’t it be great if primary and secondary education would equip us with all the basic life skills? If we could graduate high school as fully educated and socially responsible citizens ready to enter the workforce? Only people needing special education for highly skilled jobs should go to university. The rest of the population should do internships and get real life experience.

    1. Thanks, Yosefa, you make a good point. These things should be taught in elementary or high schools, or even better, at home.

  5. Couldn’t agree with you more. Elevate parenting, don’t just push the burden on moms.
    FYI – I never assume a woman isn’t working if she’s a mother. I ask, do you work outside of the home? if I want to know what else she does, because the truth is that moms work harder than anyone else, bar none.

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