x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Why force women out of the run

Why force women out of the run? A reader expresses dismay that Hamas has banned women and girls from the upcoming Gaza marathon. Other letter topics: the teaching of English, banking, drownings and the pace of change.

A reader objects to Hamas's decision to bar women from running in the Gaza marathon, in which many young girls participated in when the event was launched in 2011. Adel Hana / AP Photo
A reader objects to Hamas's decision to bar women from running in the Gaza marathon, in which many young girls participated in when the event was launched in 2011. Adel Hana / AP Photo

Arabic must be given priority over English

I am in agreement with the letter writer who discussed the merits of having all the UAE's university courses taught in English (English lessons hold pupils back, March 5).

I witness firsthand, on a daily basis, the struggle, disappointment and sometimes despair of some students who may be bright and brimming with enthusiasm for their subject, but who are not linguistically talented in a foreign language.

I teach English to students who wish to study for a degree or postgraduate qualification and also to undergraduates who have begun their first year, but whose place at university is conditional.

If these students cannot achieve a high enough band score on the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), they are unable to join a university. However, even with an appropriate IELTS score, the standard of written and spoken English of many undergraduates at my university is often inadequate and sometimes woefully so.

Also, it does Arabic a disservice to relegate it like this. Unless Emiratis value their language enough to insist on a wider knowledge of the country's mother tongue by its foreign residents and allow their young scholars to study, research and achieve their potential in their own language, the Arabic language in the UAE can only atrophy.

E Bennett, Dubai

I think most Emirati families want their children to become proficient in English as they know it is the international language of business. Oil companies use English as the main language of communication, as do other major organisations in the region.

Peter Nixon, Abu Dhabi

Take responsibility for your children

I am referring to the article, Dh300,000 payout for family of drowned girl (March 5).

The drowning incident is a terrible tragedy.

A lifeguard should always be present at hotel swimming pools, but parents should also take responsibility for their children. They should also ensure that their children learn swimming at a very early age.

Lesley Zaal, Dubai

Banks must set long-term goals

I am referring to the story, Banks warn bonus cap could spark talent drain (March 1). This is nothing more than a lie to keep the trend of the fat cat culture and back certain political groups in their attempts to preserve their economic and political interests.

Where will these bankers run to - the US? But it is also planning something similar. Even if they do, not every banker will get employment there, because of a limited number of jobs. As long as this financial system exists, suffering will continue.

Short-term goals at the expense of long term stability is what is being promoted and decision makers seems to be ignorant about upcoming economic calamities.

Joe Burns, Abu Dhabi

Hamas decision is disappointing

It is disappointing that women have been barred from participating in the forthcoming Gaza marathon (Gaza marathon cancelled by UN agency over Hamas ban on women runners, March 5). Half of the people who signed up to participate in the competition were women and a ban on them clearly shows Hamas's commitments on social issues.

Even though Hamas seems to be cracking down on behaviour it deems contrary to Islam as the report suggests, it can be terribly disappointing for a large number of schoolchildren who have always been keen to take part in such events.

The decision to stop women from participating in the run alongside men delivered a discouraging message to the younger generation, including schoolchildren who signed up for the race.

Such decisions will not help anyone or solve any issue. They will only widen the gender gap.

Ramachandran Nair, Oman

Change must come slowly

Making paradigm shifts that involve so many major systems is difficult for any nation (In Saudi Arabia, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, February 25).

Some countries in the Middle East are experiencing systematic changes in health care, education, business and culture.

Time will determine how these changes are received and if residents of these countries are part of the solution.

The success of a country in bringing about these changes is measured by the condition of all of its residents, not a handful of them. Patience is required.

Historically, humanity meets challenges, emerges victorious and leaves a legacy for future generations.

P Handfield, US