The article Private tuition fees are too high, parents say (December 16) is correct. Fees are definitely too high for the quality of education that is offered.
I believe that the Ministry of Education should be the only body responsible for overseeing education in this country. Too many resources are wasted in creating departments and agencies that only give lip service to the problem.
I think the solution to the UAE educational system should be to create a single curriculum that is followed throughout the whole country, where students are not subjected to all sorts of "activities" and schools use "facilities" to justify high fees. A curriculum that is tailored to the needs of this country that takes into account the needs of the diversity of students that go to these schools should be implemented.
I don't believe that teachers are the problem. Many teachers are not satisfied with the administrations of their schools because their sole purpose is to make profit off of parents.
The overwhelming number of schools is also a problem. It is hard to retain good-quality teachers when they do not feel appreciated and treated as the main reason a school is successful. Too many teachers are bombarded with paper work and have no time to teach and concentrate on the needs of their students. If school fees are reduced, teacher's salaries will also lower, encouraging this neverending cycle of bad education.
Julia Adams, Dubai
Bike to work and save the stress
In a December 16 letter to the editor about parking in Abu Dhabi, Displeased with Mawaqif System, it's stated that "Mawaqif is actually causing more hardship than good".
As an Abu Dhabi resident who commutes to work by bicycle rather than by car, I'd beg to differ. Since the implementation of the new parking regulations in Abu Dhabi, the clogging of parking lots and side streets with cars and SUVs has eased considerably, making it much easier for those of us who walk and bike to get from place to place.
Some Abu Dhabi drivers have become quite vocal about the implementation of the Mawaqif restrictions. Yet tired, old arguments for driver's rights, more parking spaces, etc. are retrograde and unimaginative.
What's needed instead when it comes to urban transportation are forward-looking, creative ideas for change.
Abandoning one's car for public transportation is better for the environment, and walking or biking instead of driving will improve one's physical and possibly even one's mental health.
Drivers might find it hard to believe but there are actually countless benefits to ditching your car, one of these being that you can quit worrying about where in the world to park the thing every day.
Qani Belul, Abu Dhabi
An Olympic bid for the Emirates
In the light of Qatar's success with its 2022 World Cup bid, perhaps the time is right for the UAE to make history with a joint Olympic bid from Dubai and Abu Dhabi?
The two cities are so close that a joint bid makes commercial, logistical and financial sense and would further demonstrate to the world the unity and determination of the UAE. Working together on such a bid would also further develop and reinforce co-operation between the two cities.
Peter S O'Laranon, UK
In defence of classy restraint
At the prospect of outlasting my patient welcome with the letters section of The National, I cannot but comment on the story of the most expensive Christmas tree in the world (Bling, dong, merrily on high: the $11m Christmas tree, December 17).
As a silver lining in the cloud of the world financial meltdown, I for one was quite pleased in thinking that we were beyond the excesses of the recent past in which we seemed to be in a race with ourselves to have the tallest, largest, widest, longest, biggest, smartest whatsoever in the world and keep the Guinness Book of World Records busy updating their annual tomes.
Alas, this was not to be, as we have the dubious distinction of boasting the most expensive Christmas tree in the world. No doubt a cunning (or cynical) marketing ploy for both the Emirates Palace Hotel and its tenant, the Style Gallery, which has attracted attention from around the world.
This is not the positive image Abu Dhabi has been so carefully trying to build, one of tolerance and respect, not of vulgar excess.
I greatly enjoy my visits to the Emirates Palace Hotel, be it for culture (Abu Dhabi Art, Gallery One Exhibitions, Abu Dhabi Festival), business (many conferences and meetings) or pleasure (I love taking my family there for weekend breaks), so I do hope that classy restraint makes a permanent return there.
Mohamed Kanoo, Abu Dhabi