x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Directions for trouble?

Inexperienced hikers and climbers will always make stupid decisions. But a reader argues it's better to warn them transparently, as guide books detailing the dangerous Stairway to Heaven hike do, rather than intentionally mislead. Other letter topics today: career counseling, and the Taj Mahal – in Dubai?

A reader recommends warnings in guidebooks for treks such as the Stairway to Heaven. John Henzell / The National
A reader recommends warnings in guidebooks for treks such as the Stairway to Heaven. John Henzell / The National

Your article Schools fail to prepare Emiratis for workplace (October 1) is correct. I am in my second year working in vocational education here in Abu Dhabi. And my first observation when I arrived to work at a secondary school was the lack of career counsellors and an inadequate allocation of time during the school day on the importance of future planning, study skills and practising life skills.

Students are being asked in Grade 10 to choose a profession that will set their futures, with very little information made available to them.

For instance, there is no realistic expectation advised of what it takes to become an engineer; it is only a word used by both the school and the students, with little reality of the hard work and effort it takes to achieve this type of job.

One main thing that is lacking is knowledge in general of the working world and the bigger space that exists outside of the UAE.

As a business teacher I was astounded when taking the students on a field trip that they had very little knowledge of great landmarks and of their own city.

I remind myself daily when challenged to deliver a curriculum that often lacks resources that the UAE is still young, and applaud its innovative approach.

But young people are being let down by a lack of planning and system implementation leading to unrealistic expectations. Both the public and private sectors need to work together to overcome this obstacle and benefit our young people.

Belinda Hopkin, Abu Dhabi

Many questions on sick passenger

The article Dubai passenger contracts rare killer virus, in critical condition (October 5) is missing some important facts and pieces of information.

When and where did this man contract this virus? Did he contract it on the plane?

Did he get it in Dubai or before coming to Dubai? And was he travelling to the UK knowing that he had this disease?

These are important questions that the public is certainly eager to hear the answers to.

William Jones, Dubai

Warnings better than hiking silence

I agree with the sentiment expressed in your article about publicising dangerous trekking routes (Stairway to Heaven - take the lift, the climb is a killer, October 4).

Trying to protect people by keeping them ignorant is not the way.

I've written guidebooks for 25 years, and believe writers have a responsibility to their readers to warn them of potential dangers, and to address environmental concerns as well.

Josh Turnpike, US


Over the top with Dubai Taj Mahal?

It looks like Dubai is once again getting carried away with over-the-top projects (Taj Mahal replica and other ancient wonders to cost $12 billion, October 4).

Is it so hard to learn from mistakes? Why not focus on slow sustainable growth? Does Dubai need another shopping mall?

These types of projects attract the wrong people: those who flip properties and get on a plane and run away at the first sign of trouble, leaving the economy broken.

What Dubai needs is to develop its community and culture. To attract and cater for a competent middle class. A soul. To encourage integration between locals and foreigners.

You can build a structure, but you can't give it a soul, no matter how much money you throw at it. Otherwise you end up with an artificial city like Las Vegas. It is difficult to develop loyalty to a place like that.

Junaid Rahman, Dubai


My husband says this is a brilliant idea. Travelling all the way to Agra in India is a real slog and a problem. The Taj at our doorsteps? What could be better?

Brigitte Tibet von Bulow, US


Why not pay off projects that are outstanding first, before thinking up more projects?

Pascale de Jong, Dubai


View is still best thing on the menu

Your review by Emily Shardlow might be over a year old now, but it remains one of the few honest reviews of this restaurant available online (High dining at At.mosphere in the Burj Khalifa, September 2011).I went there a while ago for high tea; it was high on price and nothing much else.

I tried to salvage the situation by ordering two desserts but things just kept sinking lower and lower from there onwards.

The view is about the only good thing in this establishment, and that is assuming you are sitting at a window (and not at one of the tables with a large pillar in your face).

Name withheld by request