x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Parking problems start with lack of places

A reader welcomes Mawaqif initiatives but says there is simply nowhere to park for many motorists in Abu Dhabi. Other topics: teaching in Arabic, Indian politics and the economy.

A reader says a lack of parking spaces means many Abu Dhabi drivers have to park illegally. Galen Clarke / The National
A reader says a lack of parking spaces means many Abu Dhabi drivers have to park illegally. Galen Clarke / The National

Hindrances to Arabic teaching can be solved

I am writing in response to your editorial Bilingual education crucial for the UAE (March 6).

The problem is that while everyone is recognising the need to use Arabic in the educational system, the same people are insisting that their children be taught in English because methodologies and curricula in Arabic are outdated and do not teach the skills needed for the 21st century.

There is nothing inherent in any language that makes it relevant or irrelevant. All we need is the will to face the problems associated with teaching in Arabic and solve them.

More than half of UAE children and the great majority of the other Arabs living in the UAE are attending private schools where English is the dominant language.

People need to match their words with their deeds.

Dr Fatima Badry, University of Sharjah

More parking spaces needed

Regarding Trust us ... we're parking inspectors (March 13), at least 60 per cent of Abu Dhabi buildings are not provided with their own parking facilities.

Therefore, most residents are required to pay an annual fee, but this does not guarantee them a parking place.

Many buildings have 50 or more apartments, with most families having a car, and yet the number of parking spaces nearby can be as low as 10.

This forces many people to park on the side of the road, or on the pavement, risking a three-figure fine and having their car towed away. I hope Mawaqif can find a better solution.

Fahad Hasan, Abu Dhabi

In the editorial, Paid parking is still a work in progress (March 13), you should have noted that if congestion has improved, then it's not because of improved parking facilities.

I've read about people having to park far away from where they live and then take a taxi to go home. That is how ridiculous the current situation is.

It is like forcing 100 people to sit on 10 chairs and then asking those who aren't seated to pay a fine - and with nobody wanting to know where the other 90 people will sit.

F Baaslelm, Abu Dhabi

Drivers should earn licences

I welcome stricter penalties for people who drive too fast (200 kph speeders face prison, March 11).

But what about the punishments for people who drive at 180 kph or 190 kph? They can easily lose control of their cars, creating a risk for other drivers.

Every day I am frustrated by drivers speeding and swerving, and generally displaying bad manners.

I always allow enough distance when I change lanes, but it's scary to see other drivers speeding up towards me as I do this.

Are they not aware that they are creating a dangerous situation?

I think that all new arrivals to the UAE should have to take lessons and a driving test before they get a local licence.

Jina Lee, Abu Dhabi

Training better than a quick fix

Thank you for James Ryan's excellent opinion article, Reliance on low-cost labour cripples goals of an R&D economy (March 13).

As Dr Ryan rightly points out, the owners, whether of a business or a property, always have the upper hand.

Infrastructure such as excellent roads, ports and tall towers are important, but so are ethical and sustainable business practices.

Not once in his 18-year career has my husband undergone a training or upskill programme, in spite of him working for some major construction companies.

Employee satisfaction and employee empowerment programmes seem non-existent.

Truly the loss is ours if we do not take advantage of best business practices accepted around the world, and instead opt for quick-fix solutions such as further increasing working hours to accommodate a two-day weekend.

If Swedes can work and be productive in 36 hours, do we really need to work more than 50 hours?

Name withheld by request

Candidate lacks common touch

I am interested in the continuing discussions about prime ministerial candidates for the Indian election next year (Chidambaram is top tip for PM job if Rahul steps aside, March 11).

Finance Minister P Chidambaram's name has been suggested by Rahul Gandhi, who is also a candidate for the position. This is a dramatic development.

Although he has had a long association with the Congress party, Mr Chidambaram has not taken a lot of interest in the plight of the common people. Will he deliver if he is elected prime minster?

K Ragavan, India