x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Scotland needs a 'yes'

Scots have no future if they don't vote for independence, a reader says. Other letter topics today include Dubai school fees, forced marriages, defining regional culture and that beating in Hungary.

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond launches the 'YES' campaign for Scottish independence in Edinburgh, Scotland, on May 25, 2012. Scottish nationalists launched an official 'yes' campaign for independence on Friday ahead of a likely 2014 referendum on severing the more than 300-year-old union with England. AFP PHOTO / Andy Buchanan
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond launches the 'YES' campaign for Scottish independence in Edinburgh, Scotland, on May 25, 2012. Scottish nationalists launched an official 'yes' campaign for independence on Friday ahead of a likely 2014 referendum on severing the more than 300-year-old union with England. AFP PHOTO / Andy Buchanan

Your article 117 Dubai schools apply for fee rises (June 8) raises multiple questions.

Why, in the second week of June, have the decisions on fee increases not yet been announced? Schools cannot build their budgets for 2012-13 if they do not have the fundamental data of how much revenue they will receive.

Families can't budget if they don't know their expenditure on education. Companies who might pay the fees of 50 or more families at the same school are similarly in the dark.

The situation in Abu Dhabi is no better. Schools are still waiting for news on increases. This announcement should be made in January, so everyone can plan successfully.

Why does the Knowledge and Human Development Authority persist in allowing the smallest increases in the worst-performing schools? How will these poor schools ever improve if they are starved of funds?

When will the long-established schools be allowed to make a meaningful increase in fees?

Schools which opened 20 years ago set their fees at the level prevalent at the time. Since then their fees have increased by a percentage of a small amount. Recently opened schools set their initial fees at a high level and have since been making increases which are a percentage of a large amount.

The differential will keep increasing and the older schools will continue to be disadvantaged.

Why don't the authorities just allow the fees to be set by the market? School that are in demand and that set high fees could be obliged to set aside a percentage of revenue in a scholarship fund so that able students from modest backgrounds can gain admission.

Name withheld by request

Scots must vote for independence

Will Scotland go it alone? (June 9) askswhat kind of independence Scotland wants. Well, just the usual independence that every other independent country has.

The vote must be "yes", not for the past but for now and forever, as Scotland will have no future if it's the same as yesterday.

If Scotland does not take this chance, Westminster will asset strip the country, then force independence when there is nothing left that it wants.

Aye, I'm cynical. I remember the referendum of 1979.

Charles O'Brien, Dubai

Confusion over forced marriages

Regarding UK law would make forced marriages a crime (June 8),"forced marriage" is not "arranged marriage", nor is it in any way a religious practice.

The UK government defines it as: "A marriage conducted without the valid consent of both parties where duress (emotional pressure in addition to physical abuse) is a factor."

Angelika Lancsak, Dubai

How to define region's culture?

I was greatly taken by your excellent article (The high road to cultural learning, June 6) about Emirati students going to Scotland on a cultural visit. It made me think about the whole meaning of culture, identity, Emiratisation, the Arabic language and so on.

When I first worked in the Arabian Gulf more than 25 years ago, the culture here was clearly identifiable as hospitable, traditional, respectful and humble, with a tangible air of humility and grace.

I wonder how we would define, identify and qualify culture now for the benefit of Scottish students visiting the Gulf.

Roger Warren, Abu Dhabi

Blame criminals, not nationalism

I'm a Hungarian working here in the UAE. I'm very sad at the incident described in your story, Hungarians launch inquiry into assault on Emirati chess officials (June 6). I apologise in the name of every Hungarian and I wish a fast and full recovery to the Emirati man.

I'm not looking for any excuses, as what these men did is absolutely unacceptable, but I see in online comments that some people are mixing this up with political and nationalism issues.

There is no point in talking about fascism and nationalism here, because this case has nothing to do with those. Szeged is a dangerous town, due to its nightlife, drugs, cigarette trafficking and so on.

This town is one of the main illegal connection points between the Balkans and the EU, and due to this fact many criminals live there.

It's not a safe place. But this kind of place can be found anywhere in the world, unfortunately.

Lajos Kovacs, Dubai

An education on money maters

If a ministry can't pay its bills (Education ministry owes Dh170m in utility bills, June 7), what hope is there for anyone else?

Caroline Wareham, Dubai