I write in reference to Thousands turned down for places at university (July 25).
This is a good step for post-secondary education in the UAE. It is well documented that if you set high standards, students will work to meet those standards.
Other initiatives that would improve the education system in the UAE include:
Make significant improvements to teacher education programmes.
Require a minimum 9th grade reading and maths exit score before graduation.
Offer career guidance services in primary and all post-secondary schools, including the provision of biannual career and academic assessments from grades 7 to12.
Initiate a national career day for all secondary students, involving local employers as speakers at schools, and encouraging parents to take their sons or daughters to work for the day.
Encourage all 17 Higher Colleges of Technology to return to their original mission of vocational and technical education.
Promote realistic compensation packages in the public and private sectors. All compensation packages should be tied to performance criteria.
Continue to develop vocational and technical education options for students beginning in grade 8.
And finally, make it a national priority to prepare more male teachers as PK-12 and post -secondary faculty. Reward them with appropriate salaries and benefits.
Jerry McDonald, US
Highway facilities require attention
There is a serious lack of clean toilets at the highway petrol stations between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Even in the existing, limited number of toilets, hygiene needs seem to have been neglected.
Visit one on any given busy evening or morning, and it's obvious that these toilets are not as well-maintained or cleaned as they should be.
Bear in mind that these are international roads connecting to bordering countries, and that children will need to use them.
I hope the petrol stations and health authorities initiate measures to address this issue.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
Big cats deserve greater respect
Having read Endangered wildcats for sale on website (July 26), I really don't understand how people think.
These animals are endangered, dangerous and illegal. Stop buying them, stop selling them, stop advertising them, stop importing them; just stop.
I don't understand why some people in the media and the police seem to be taking this very serious issue so casually. We are putting people's lives in danger and helping ensure the extinction of these animals.
How many cheetahs, lions and tigers must die before people take this seriously?
In every smuggling attempt, six out of nine cubs die. Most of the lionesses and cheetah mothers have to be killed for their cubs to be taken.
These animals aren't pets; they are wild and dangerous. Sooner or later, their dominant behaviour will kick in, and sooner or later someone will get hurt.
In most cases, the wild animal is kept in a tiny cage and is fed chicken every day of its miserable life. Its teeth and claws are often surgically removed.
If the animal escapes, the police will show up and put the animal down. I'd really appreciate it if someone can tell me whose responsibility it is that these animals are here in the first place.
Rather thanjust ask whether advertising wild animals should be illegal, perhaps The National should start an awareness campaign about this topic.
Wafa Alabedy, Sharjah
It seems illogical that it's illegal to own endangered animals but not illegal to advertise them for sale.
Would the same rationale be allowed to apply to other illegal merchandise, such as drugs?
Michael Peterson, Dubai
Mukherjee must be a man of action
Regarding Mukherjee is sworn in as 13th president (July 26), we do not want speeches; we want something for the 800 million Indians who live below the poverty line.
India needs a president who not only knows about the country's situation, but shows guts by doing something, within his limited power under the constitution, to eradicate poverty, hunger and corruption.
KP Muhammad, Abu Dhabi
Games bring out strange behaviour
I admit to being among those people who have little to no interest in the Olympic Games.
From a sociological standpoint, though, I am always fascinated how once every four years people will watch, enjoy and often even claim expertise about sports they normally wouldn't even cross the street to see.
James Holder, Dubai