x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Better awareness needed

A London museum exhibit prompts a reader to say that Muslims in the GCC need to understand Islam's place in the whole modern world. Other letter topics: schools, cricket and poverty.

The British Museum's Haj exhibition prompts a reader to comment on religious awareness. Stephen Lock for The National
The British Museum's Haj exhibition prompts a reader to comment on religious awareness. Stephen Lock for The National

I read the article Inspectors to grade all schools In Abu Dhabi (February 29) with great interest.

I worked for 18 months in two Abu Dhabi schools on a school-improvement project and am currently in close contact with people still working on that project. I agree that the state schools suffer from the factors mentioned in the article but an even more serious problem is the foreign providers assigned to various schools, none of whom seems to have the remotest idea regarding school improvement. One only has to look at the education system in their countries to see the potential effect of these "experts".

In Abu Dhabi, there are so many things being done the wrong way while attempting to improve the system. It is distressing to those of us who know how to bring about improvement to see the misguided approach followed.

If infighting, grasping for personal power and plain incompetence persist, countless millions of dirhams will continue to be wasted and children's educational futures ruined.

Ian Robertson, Canada

Students' ethics everyone's job

The 5th Global Education Forum which will be held from February 28 to March 1 is an opportunity to look at the most important educational issues in our society today.

Your paper published a couple of articles this month regarding children in school and cheating (Cheating the modern way, February 12).

We might need to look at this ethical issue more seriously because before we know it, these children will be running families, companies and even government institutions.

We all need to feel responsible. As parents, we need to appreciate the extent to which young minds are affected by the choices we make in our own lives.

Every choice has an impact: no matter how unintentionally, no matter how innocently, when choices condone the passions of the world - admiration for power, its adoration of status, its love of luxuries, its attachment to frivolous pursuits, its glorification of violence and its obsession with self-gratification - young minds are affected.

Making better choices, having the right vision, direction and purpose of services and kindness will affect young minds.

For every one of them can be regarded as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value and education alone can cause them to reveal their treasures and enable everyone to benefit from these young hearts.

All of us, parents, educators and members of society, have a responsibility to infuse into our families, schools and societies the education of ethics.

Niloofar Rouhani, Dubai

Cricketers show unbridled passion

The article The other children would not allow me to play (February 28) on physically disabled cricketers was an inspiring story.

These men might have physical disabilities but they are stronger in heart, mind and spirit than most others I know.

Their passion and determination should be a guiding light to us all, and I only hope that the professional cricketers who enjoy the riches of their sport remember what the game is all about, as these men have amply shown us.

They truly deserve ICC recognition for their courageous efforts.

Ian Mason, Abu Dhabi

Slum stories that touch the hearts

I refer to the article Stories from the slum: interview with Katherine Boo (February 28). I've been there and I've seen that.

As an affluent westerner, I feel ashamed and horrible for living a privileged life.

It touches your heart in a way as it has never been touched before.

Angelika Lancsak, Austria

Raise awareness on Islam relevance

There is yet to be a thought-out Islam awareness programme here in UAE (Haj exhibition opens at British Museum, January 26).

The fact often overlooked is that most Muslims are not from the Arabian Peninsula and the Muslim culture and Islamic understanding are not a monolithic.

People often mistakingly equate the current Arab culture with Islam. The two are quite distinct but there are areas that overlap.

There ought to be a month dedicated to raising mass awareness of Islam through various media including lectures by scholars, academics and an exhibition for all to attend.

Muslims in the UK are more aware of the modern world and how Islam relates and interacts with it. This is sadly lacking in the GCC.

JB, Dubai