US President Barack Obama made it loud and clear in his second inaugural speech about his intentions to concentrate on domestic issues (‘Can Obama afford to sit on the sidelines?’ Gulf News, January 26). As the president of a responsible country like the US, whether he can afford to sit on the sidelines is a valid question. Will it be appropriate for him to devote very little time to the outside world, when the country is directly or indirectly involved in almost all major issues that currently prevail? I think America has the moral responsibility to bring stability in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan. The new policy and phrase ‘leading from behind’ or the ‘arms-length’ policy should not affect the world in humanitarian terms. The US can still play a major role in bringing peace. We all know that Americans are fed up of foreign wars and it is quite natural that they want their president to improve their lives. Concentrating on the domestic economy should not be at the expense of American greatness. The situation in Syria is getting worse day by day and already 60,000 people are dead and thousands of people are displaced. We need to put a full stop to this bloodbath. The world should unite for this noble cause and end the suffering of the people of Syria.
I took a look at the newspaper recently and was horrified to see the photo of a totally burned car, resulting in the death of an Emirati – yet another victim of speeding on our roads. A search of news reports over the past two months showed me at least 12 other similar deaths due to speeding. What’s happening to our drivers? There is clearly a crisis. A closer look revealed the alarming fact that most of these vehicles are driven by educated men and women. Does this show that there is a lack of willingness to acknowledge and respect safety initiatives in place? If so, it has to be controlled by initiating stricter rules and regulations so that no life is lost due to dangerous driving. I suggest the authorities bring in a fine system which is pro rata, based on the type and model of the vehicle and driver involved. In addition, all automobile dealers should be requested to give a 2-3 hour mandatory safety training to the new owner, with a certification issued after successful completion that he is well aware of the controls of the car he is going to own and fit and safe enough to drive it. I wish to see zero tolerance on speeding on our roads and no fatalities in the future, as a result.
Change the teaching style
I think a really long time will pass before any improvement in the teaching methodology of Indian schools can be expected (‘Students in unsatisfactory Indian schools nearly double,’ Gulf News, January 28). Practical methods of teaching are out of the question in many schools. They try to please the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) during pre-notified visits, but follow their usual, inappropriate methods all through the year. The real change will come about when the teachers will be fit for students’ needs and grow out of their old ‘masterly’ attitude. Schools must make the students feel more relaxed, and let the teachers be more approachable. Lecture-oriented classes are still a regular feature in many of these schools, where students are mere spectators. This needs to change.
While school inspections are well and good, I find that schools are approaching it the wrong way. Instead of sprucing up appearances and rushing about with last-minute changes for the inspectors, they must aim for best practices and strive to excel, regardless of whether anyone is keeping tabs on them or not. Only when you are focused on what matters will others be able to see it too and give you the appropriate appraisal. I urge school managements around the UAE to conduct their own inspections, set high standards and strive every day to go beyond them.
A resident from the Al Taawun area of Sharjah has already made us aware of the problem of stray animals (‘Residents need peace of mind, stray dogs need loving homes,’ Gulf News, January 26). We are already dealing with the issue and hope to resolve it over the next few days. Unfortunately, we may not be able to remove all of the dogs from the area due to overcrowding at the shelter. We currently have over 100 dogs and puppies and an equal number of cats and kittens in search of new homes. We receive an alarming number of animals every day at the shelter, which residents have dumped on the street, sometimes in appalling conditions. It is a very sad unfortunate situation to be in. Whilst an animal can bring immense joy to a family, people must remember these animals need to be cared for, and must keep in mind the financial costs that come along with owning an animal.
Shelter Director, Sharjah Cat & Dog Shelter
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