Education model will deliver for the nation's students
The new school model described in Closing the gap between school and university (September 3) is an outstanding initiative by the Abu Dhabi Education Council.
It will take time, but this effort will deliver major dividends for the future of the UAE.
Preparing all students as bilingual learners is excellent. Having a curriculum focused on Arabic, English, maths, science and social studies/national culture should be the core for every student.
Electives such as art, music, physical education and vocational options can complement the core, but it's best to limit these options to maybe one session each day.
For adults who may not have achieved learning levels adequate to be successful in the labour market, it is eventually cost beneficial to provide retraining in core academic areas, while coupling this with a vocational option.
After seven years of experience in postsecondary education in the UAE, I cannot emphasise enough the need for early and effective career counselling.
This should eventually be standard in all primary and high schools, but with initial introduction at the middle and high school levels.
Before entering high school, students need to be aware of what levels of maths and science are necessary for certain careers they are considering, or for successful entry into postsecondary options.
Without quality career counselling, many students will continue to enter the labour force ill-prepared for its expectations, or enter colleges and universities ill-prepared for the academic rigour required for success.
Jerry McDonald, US
Film spoiled by an unnecessary joke
Regarding Seth MacFarlane to host SNL (September 5), there's no denying the American writer and director's comedic talent, and that talent is evident through most of his work, including the film Ted.
However, like MacFarlane's television shows Family Guy and American Dad, Ted includes predictable humour that is crass, to say the least. If you fancy some cheap, laugh-out-loud jokes, you will be entertained.
The character Ted is just a 3D version of Brian the dog from Family Guy and his friend John is a buff, human version of the TV show's Peter Griffin.
However, if you are a religious person, you may not find this film funny; you may even be surprised that it is playing in the UAE.
There was a major joke in one scene that I found to be tasteless and unnecessary.
The teddy bear Ted and his human buddy (Mark Wahlberg) sing a song to help them overcome the fear of thunder and lightning. In the middle of that song there is a seriously revolting joke.
That little bit put me off the whole movie. Yas Bin Firnas, Dubai
Home is where books are shared
In reference to A librarian's gift to workers (September 8), in my apartment complex we have a bookshelf set up in a lobby.
The idea is to enable residents and visitors alike to browse through the books and take away the ones they want to read.
We call it "books in search of readers", and it is different from a traditional library.
With this "open-source" shelf, you are not obliged to return books - although many people do return them, and even add their own books for others to read.
GV Krishnan, India
Smoking ban will benefit everyone
I am deeply saddened at the negative attitude that persists among smokers toward banning smoking in public places (Lebanese smokers should battle ban, September 9).
If you choose to smoke, this should be done, to the harm of yourself and like-minded people, in private.
I am confident that no smoker would put a cigarette into the mouth of a child or a non-smoker, but this is exactly what you are doing by forcing anyone in a room or car, or even a passer-by in the street, when they breathe in your second-hand smoke.
Second-hand smoke is associated with up to 15,000 hospitalisations of infants and toddlers and 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year in the US alone.
Lebanon is looking at the long-term effects on the health-care system of supporting thousands of people who will die of smoking-related illnesses.
Instead of getting annoyed that the electricity or water is not working, people in Lebanon should be glad that somebody else is being given the best medical care to nurse them through the final months, weeks and days of their smoking-related illness. When smoking is finally eradicated, we will all enjoy the benefit of health- care funds being spent elsewhere.
Laura Easton, Al Ain