The news article Down's syndrome children need 'faster inclusion' (February 4) reported on a conference in Dubai that highlighted the need for the social inclusion of these children. As an educator from Canada now teaching in Abu Dhabi, I have a strong belief that "inclusion" is a great strategy in giving all children equal education apart from their differences.
But as our education systems have more history and experience than the UAE, it would be more productive for children with Down's syndrome to come to the "regular school" and have special education programmes set up for their individual needs with extra support. Placing children with special needs into mainstream classes could create an imbalance that could hamper the best environment for all the children in the class.
The UAE needs to push their government schools further to adapt programmes from overseas that have fully functional special education systems in place before they just "throw" Down's syndrome children into "regular" classes. "Education for All" is a great saying, but without the proper systems and especially support and knowledge, this new idea could be a disaster for the educators and especially the children.
Shelly Schupad, Abu Dhabi
A multicultural future generation
I refer to the M Magazine cover story Future Perfect (February 5) about four teenagers who put paid to the myth of "expat brats". What a great article. I have had the privilege of working with expatriate youngsters, or "third culture" kids, for almost 30 years. I love them. Brats they are not. Bratty? Well sometimes but hey, aren't we all sometimes?
This population is one of the fastest growing groups on the planet. Mono-cultural young people hang on, they are going to rock your world.
Libby Stephens, Abu Dhabi
Background to current unrest
In reference to the front page story 'We will remain and stay strong' (February 5), the efforts to find out the root causes of the unrest sweeping through the Arab world will never be fruitful or complete without going back to what happened centuries ago, when history witnessed the collapse of the Islamic caliphate in what many describe as a black chapter of the Muslim ummah. This paved the way for one-man rule in the Arab world.
The millions marching on the streets of Arab capitals, clamouring for the end of the system which failed to deliver them a dignified life, has not only given sleepless nights to their rulers but also exposed the hypocritical masks of their mentors in the US and Europe. They had been performing lip service for democratic norms and reforms while abetting the suppression of poor Arab civilians.
The reasons contributing to the present upheaval could be manifold from unemployment to lack of freedom, however the replacement of the current system cannot be achieved without applying Islamic principles.
The attitude of the military in countries from Tunisia to Egypt towards the protesting people is admirable. They have shown their maturity and loyalty to their nation. This has helped a lot to keep the situation from turning more catastrophic.
Abdul Lateef Koladikkal, Abu Dhabi
Chinese rival Indians in Africa
The business article India seizes African moment (February 4) reported on the growing commercial rivalry in Africa between India and China. The article mentioned that descendants of Indian immigrants are now in prominent business and political positions in Africa. For example, the South African finance minister Pravin Gordhan is of Indian origin.
Chinese merchants also have longstanding ties. The son of a Chinese merchant in Gabon, Jean Ping, is chairman of the African Union.
He is an example of a Chinese advantage that goes mostly unnoticed. People think most of Chinese involvement in Africa is state sponsored but that's untrue. There are 500,000 to 1,000,000 Chinese in Africa. Most are there because of their own initiative. The Zambian labour dispute involved two Chinese partners who started their own mine. Throughout Africa you will find highly energetic Chinese entrepreneurs: Chinese traders selling shoes in Luanda, Chinese peasants starting farming communities in Malawi, and so forth. India has no comparable depth of entrepreneurship.
AB, Abu Dhabi
Hoping for a return of Trump
I refer to Nakheel cancels Trump project on Palm (February 3). Let's hope that a Trump project will come back in the next few years. A project like the Trump International Hotel & Tower has such momentum and is a magnet for high-end people, continually setting standards of excellence. Dubai needs powerful icons like Trump.
Angelika Lancsak, Dubai