x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Iran unlikely to engage Obama

The US president is wasting his time, a reader says. Other letters comment on reforms in UAE schools, incentives for university students and Britain's split from Europe.

Iran says this photo shows a US drone aircraft that was recovered after falling out of Iranian skies. If it had landed in China, a reader suggests, cheap copies would already be on sale worldwide. EPA
Iran says this photo shows a US drone aircraft that was recovered after falling out of Iranian skies. If it had landed in China, a reader suggests, cheap copies would already be on sale worldwide. EPA

Cash incentives for university students (December 11) reminds me that similar steps were taken in Qatar, but with little or no success. Financial incentive should always be tied to performance and not to mere registration as a student.

The idea of handing out money to students every month is ill- advised and counterproductive. Only competition, and a sense of being part of something bigger than self, drives one to succeed.

If students know there is regular money being deposited, it is likely they will busy themselves with noneducational activities, which is the opposite of the purpose.

Joe Burns, Abu Dhabi

Parents hold the key to kids' future

As a teacher of middle school boys, I read Reform in schools to cut rate of dropouts (December 13) with great interest.

Most 14 and 15 year old boys have very little interest in the notion of education and the future. Their future rarely exists more than a month ahead of them. As the article mentions, when asked what they wish to do when they finish school, they repetitively reply: "I'll join the military or the police force" or "I'll get a job in my father's business."

New reforms must affect the society as a whole or the process of Emiratisation will never succeed and will have a detrimental effect on business and commerce going forward.

A country's image is reflected by the people within it. The statistic that one in three young people have dropped out of school is frightening. Parents must take more responsibility in the education of their children. Simply enrolling them in a good school, paying the fees and leaving it up to the teachers is not enough. They must be more interactive with their children's education, or the UAE will never be seen as a clever country.

Name withheld by request

Reform in schools to cut rate of dropouts (December 13) shows that, in spite of so much money being invested in education, good teaching skills and implanting values of education cannot be replaced with quick fixes. As long as there is a culture of teenagers hanging out at cafes, and clubs at night during the week, their education will suffer.

There is a clear correlation between absentee parenting culture and education. The fact is, some parents seem oblivious to their children's study habits. How can one study when the prime focus is driving around at all hours and hanging out with friends? Homework requires time and attention.

As a former school governor, I know that parents' involvement is the most important factor in raising their children's educational standards. This starts at home with discipline and routine.

Name withheld by request

Obama wasting time with Iran

In regard to Iran refuses 'brazen' US request for drone return (December 14), it's a pity the drone landed in Iran. If it had landed in China it would have been mass produced and exported worldwide, thus easing widespread traffic congestion.

The US is wasting its time dealing with Iran. The Chinese will soon be opening up a research and development collaboration office in Iran. Times are a changing.

Prem Mathew, Abu Dhabi

Lessons for single GCC currency

The Gulf Countries would have to be suicidal to enter into a fiscal union of any sort until they see they end result of the European Union's problems (IMF against Gulf currency bid, December 8).

Already the Europeans are fighting each other, not speaking with one voice as they should be. Whoever thought that 27 countries could all agree on anything, let alone everything, is barking mad.

Faris Khan, Dubai

Euro split could favour Britain

The article Europe bids UK goodbye and good riddance after euro-zone crisis veto (December 12) strikes me as quite biased.

Yes, Prime Minister David Cameron has angered people at home and abroad but he also has a lot of support in the UK - yet there's no mention of this here.

Try listening to Kyle Bass, founder of Hayman Capital Hedge Fund, for a more rational analysis on Germany. Mr Bass says people are led in the press to believe that Germany is this island of fiscal solitude and that it has been very responsible.

Yet, he adds, Germany has today an 81 per cent ratio of sovereign debt to GDP, and hasn't recapitalised the country's banks yet. Only the UK and the US have recapped their banks. The rest of Europe hasn't recapped any. Europe's banks are three times as leveraged as US banks are today.

The "good riddance" sentiments may well cut both ways, if not now then in the not-too-distant future.

Name withheld by request