x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Private sector has role in lowering the dropout rate

Readers also comment on Iraq's oil curse, France's niqab ban, and UAE's mortgages transparency

A reader comments on the two aspects of the lifestyle expert Martha Stewart: the successful entrepreneur and the former convict. PR News Foto / Comcast Corporation
A reader comments on the two aspects of the lifestyle expert Martha Stewart: the successful entrepreneur and the former convict. PR News Foto / Comcast Corporation

The news article Far too many boys drop out of school (June 20) references a study by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR), which states that if the Government wants a literate and skilled society, the dropout rate must be halved within five years.

I believe that for this to happen, the private sector needs to be fully engaged early on. For instance, the private sector can be much more involved in developing programmes that enable and encourage secondary level students to begin taking courses or even hands-on learning in order to help them decide which career path to choose.

Engineering is a good example of where this approach would add value. Finding and training the engineers of the future needs to start early. A practical and interactive curriculum is key to generating enthusiasm among students who should have some understanding of an industry by the time they have to decide what they want to do for a career.

Moreover, starting early could help ensure that the population enjoys a more diverse range of skills that are relevant in a fast-growing region which needs local people for the industries that will power future growth.

Rob Watson, regional director, Middle East, Rolls-Royce, Dubai

More analysis of the oil curse

I refer to Afshin Molavi's opinion article Iraq's lasting success will be measured in barrels per day (June 20). I was interested in this quote of his: "While some analysts still trot out the fashionable 'oil curse' argument, suggesting that oil wealth actually slows development and promotes corruption, this thesis is too trite. Oil wealth does not inherently promote corruption, uneven growth and mismanagement. The more serious ailment is the 'weak institutions curse'."

It seems like he is dismissing an argument by calling it trite and fashionable. Yet, he hasn't really contended with the argument. Is the problem in Nigeria about weak institutions?

There are ways of testing his argument in some real world situations. It would be great to see how the argument plays out with some extended analysis.

DD, Dubai

Two views of the French niqab ban

In reference to Faisal Al Yafai's opinion article Sarkozy niqab ban strikes at heart of French liberty (June 21), I highly respect his right as a commentator to express ideas, but I do not share them.

He is missing the point. I don't have any particular admiration for Nicolas Sarkozy but I acknowledge the fact that he was legally elected as president of France, which gives him the right to suggest a law (about the niqab ban) that was later approved by a majority of the lawfully elected parliament.

A tremendous advantage of the system is also that in another year, chances are that Mr Sarkozy will not be in charge anymore.

JP de Breyne, Abu Dhabi

Ambiguities have always persisted in the perceptions and ideologies of the West towards the East. The ban on the hiqab cannot be justified with a significant reason by the government of France. This is mere pettiness by some in the French parliament.

On the one hand, western countries talk about human rights and the rights of freedom to speak, to live and let live, while on the other hand they shamelessly ban a piece of cloth worn by a few minority women. Isn't this pointing to two rules: one for the goose and another for the gander?

Zahra Khan, Abu Dhabi

A question of the two Marthas

I refer to the news article Stewart finds food for thought on tour of Dubai (June 19). Martha Stewart? The "American television personality and businesswoman"? I'm struggling to understand which Martha Stewart you're writing about.

Apparently this "inspiration to women throughout the world" has magazine titles across the region and a business empire that encompasses websites, radio shows, books and a television show. It's also nice to know that she created a medical centre to help the elderly.

For a moment, I thought you might have meant the other Martha Stewart, the one who went to jail for conspiracy and making false statements to federal investigators; the woman who was refused entry to the United Kingdom in 2008 for her criminal record.

Name Withheld by Request

Transparency for mortgages

I refer to the front page business article Cheaper mortgage rates to test demand for property (June 19) which described attractive deals offered by mortgage lenders. It is not cheaper mortgages that the market needs, but more transparency and security for the investors, without a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.

Almet Klanin, Abu Dhabi