TOPSHOT - Women mourn during a memorial ceremony for the seven crew members who died in the Ethiopian Airlines accident at the Ethiopian Pilot Association Club in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on March 11, 2019. Airlines in Ethiopia, China and Indonesia have grounded their Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets on Monday as investigators recovered the black boxes from a brand-new passenger jet that crashed outside Addis Ababa a day earlier, killing all 157 people on board. / AFP / - Image Credit: AFP

What you need to know:

  • Readers discuss the recent planecrash, CBSE boards, politics and more.

Wasteful and stressful

The board examinations of India’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for the year 2019 have started and I would like to bring to the concerned authorities’ attention the following.
It is high time that the board stops the decades-old practice of making students go to other schools during the 10th and 12th annual board examinations. I strongly subscribe and support the intention that the CBSE aims to deter students from cheating and resorting to other types of malpractices, to provide a level playing field for all students appearing for the examination.
Going by the CBSE’s own statistics of number of cases of cheating during the board exams, which doubled to 119 in 2017 from 56 in the previous year 2016, in relation to the number of students appearing for the examination, it needs a sincere review by the authorities to evaluate the cost versus benefit.
As a concerned parent of a Grade 12 student, I have witnessed and experienced the chaos that is happening in front of schools during the morning hours of examination days, especially those days on which there are common examinations such as English. While the schools provide transportation to the respective exam centers, a good majority of the students are directly dropped or picked up from the exam center school by their parents who are not familiar with the school’s location or parking facilities, while the school buses pick up the students to drop them to the other school where they are going to write the exam.
While CBSE propagates the need for keeping the students stress-free, this swapping of schools puts tremendous pressure on students with the relatively negligible benefit obtained out of it, without considering the cost and efforts involved from the schools. It is also important that the students are comfortable and will be able to perform better if they are writing the exam in their own school.
Instead, deputing invigilators from other schools would bring in a similar level of control in deterring students from cheating and resorting to other malpractices. Further, in this technological era, they can also consider CCTV cameras in the exam halls to monitor students.

From Mr M. Gopakumar
Abu Dhabi

Illustrative purposes Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Magic lamps, flying carpets

The first thing I bought when I moved to Dubai was a magic lamp. I knew no genie was going to appear, but the pretty lamp with its intricate enamel work made the exotic Arabian Nights concept a little more tangible.
For most of the world, a mention of the Middle East conjures a picture of magic carpets, Aladdin lamps and desert moons. When I got on the flight to Dubai, the fanciful, irrational part of my mind was expecting magic and ‘old world’ decadence. However, when I got off the flight, it was like stepping into the future. Watching YouTube videos and movie clips of Dubai does not prepare you for the real thing. The roadways are mind boggling, the architecture is cutting edge and the infrastructure is superb. The walkways make walking a pleasure along the roads and strategically placed benches and charming little parks are delightful. Everything is air conditioned - from bus stops to metro stations to supermarkets and of course residences and office spaces. I was very grateful for this convenience in the summer when a five-minute walk made me sweat as much as a 30-minute workout on the treadmill, though sadly the calories burnt were not nearly as much.
Nevertheless, one cannot honestly say that the Emirates is devoid of magic. The view from the 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa is nothing less than what Aladdin would have had from his magic carpet. Watching the fountain show next to that imperial building with bewitching music playing in the background is a truly magical experience.
What strikes me at each of these places is that Dubai is a place which inspires you. The beautiful glimpses of perfection urge you to find perfection in yourself. It charms you into wanting to become richer, more beautiful or better accomplished. Perhaps this is the reason so many people from all over the world come to Dubai with dreams in their eyes and a spirit of adventure in their hearts, much like Sinbad the sailor who bravely set out to exotic lands in the quest for fortune. Though the lamps sold at street corners might not be magic, there is something about this land that has the power to make dreams come true.

From Ms Manasa Komaravolu

Tragic disaster

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302’s crash was sad and painful to read about (“Boeing 737: Turbulence after tragedy”. From the Cover, March 12). The motive of the crash was not suspected however, this crash should be investigated and real truth should come out. Whether due to the aircraft or some other flaws. Passengers from 35 countries were on board to attend the UN Environment Summit. In the recent months many airplane crashes have been in the news. I pray for the victims and bereaved family members.

From Mr K. Ragavan
Bengaluru, India

A unifying leader

I fully agree with the views of the author Ashish Ray in his book ‘Laid to Rest’ regarding the controversy over Subhas Chandra Bose’s death (“Indian Muslims trusted Bose more than others”, Nation section, March 9).
Bose’s commitment to secularism was genuine and not shallow just to entice the Muslims for their vote. It was this unwavering commitment that led Bose to publicly criticise both the Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League, which were one of the largest communal organisations, divided into religious lines.
Bose was a visionary who foresaw the rise of communal politics, which would lead to eventual destruction of the centuries of religious ethos built by the two communities for their peaceful coexistence.
His strategic move in Kolkata to start a movement to remove the commemoration of a monument built by the British for the soldiers who died in the infamously called Black Hole Prison under the Nawab of Bengal unnerved the British, who saw a rare unity among the Hindus and the Muslims as a threat to their legacy of ‘divide and rule’ policy. It was Bose’s radical politics and outright confrontation with the might of the British Empire that saw him in direct clash with the pacifists in the Congress, which forced him to leave India and the monumental tragedy that followed.

From Mr Gopal Sriniwasan

Parents beware

As the head of the IT department of a school, I drafted a letter to circulate among school parents to bring their attention about cyber threats and safety of school children in our school community. These are some aspects of that email that I would like to share with Gulf News readers. Unsupervised YouTube access can be a major problem as children are exposed to a wide collection of videos from all over the world, which may contain all kind of materials. No one can assure the safety of the content of the video, even though certain videos appear to be child-friendly in the beginning. My message to parents is to be be careful when you give access to children to YouTube or the internet.
Enable ‘safe search’ so that the content will be controlled as best as the systems are able to. Also, please be aware of the apps and games which your children use. Please check the digital devices they use once in a while and make sure they do not use anything which is not age appropriate. Finally, use parental control software before you hand over a device to your child’s hand.

From Mr Chrish Dias

Breaking the glass ceiling

Although the world has seen a growth in women empowerment, there is still this built-in questioning about women’s executive ability, whether it is in the corporate boardroom or in other spheres of life.
The economy has reached parity in terms of overall employee representation, women do face a ‘double glass ceiling’ – one when being promoted to management and another when being promoted to executive roles.
The big debate in this space is not whether a gender wage gap exists — it’s why the gap exists. An authentic research conducted reveals that the gender wage gap is mostly a penalty for bearing children. According to this report, there is a sharp decline in women’s earnings after the birth of their first child with no comparable salary drop for men. The cumulative effect is huge.
There are several ways in which this issue could be fixed. This includes providing paid leave and subsidised or on-site child care, improve culture around flexible work timings in order to meet the work-life balance, evaluate recruiting practices which selects only the young mothers for recruitment.
Let us start by honouring and treating ourselves with respect. With this, we set the stage up for others to treat us with respect. Develop great self-esteem, believe in yourself, have a never-say-die attitude and, most importantly, support other women.

From Ms Nikita Kolangde

Celebrating tolerance

With over 200 nationalities residing in this nation, it is quite a task to ensure peace and serenity amongst all. It is one of the major tasks that the Rulers in the UAE have succeeded in completing. But, the best part of the Year of Tolerance is getting people involved in creating a secure and joy-filled atmosphere throughout the country. Even though it is just the beginning of the year, we can already see the big difference in people’s attitude. Every resident of this country is making a conscious effort to remain calm and tolerant. The full credit of this accomplishment goes to the UAE government. We have fully accepted the variety of cultures and races in our nation, and have joined them in the celebration of humanity. Day by day, we have come together to form a stable society of diverse ethnicities.

From Ms Pavithra Shaji

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