Breakthrough in school curricula

The launch of the new ‘Rahhal’ programme is very exciting news for students and parents in the UAE (“Rahhal allows part-time schooling in Dubai”, Gulf News, April 30). I am very pleased that the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai has identified and realised a solution to this very important area of flexibility in education for students with exceptional needs. Our youngest son is in gymnastic training and trains for around four to five hours a day, six days a week. Fitting this in with an already long and arduous school day has proved to be exhausting. Of the small number of children practicing gymnastics at his level, he is one of the few children who is not home schooled. We have been under some pressure to home-school our son but, but with his dyslexia we did not feel this was an option open to us. His school has been very flexible to date, permitting a flexible start time, and allowing time off for international competitions. The emphasis, however, is on us to ensure he picks up the work he misses and tries to catch up on it on his return. The new program will now offer the opportunity for true flexibility in the approach to the child’s education, with a program to maintain the standards and monitoring of each individual’s educational progress. Our eldest son is a swimmer who left his education in the UAE to go abroad to study, in a school known for sport. It has achieved this recognition and level of academic and sporting achievement by offering flexibility and individualised educational programs to its students. Rahhal is opening the way for the same opportunities to be realised across the UAE in a wider context. It is a very exciting development which, following last week’s announcement to permit long term residents to compete for the UAE in international sporting competitions, will both encourage and enable sporting talent to remain in the Emirates. We will watch with interest the development of Rahhal.

From Ms Susan Percival-Simmons


Devastating news for the parents

It was sad to know that terminally ill 23-month-old British toddler, Alfe Evans died after a long legal battle (“Terminally-ill British toddler at center of legal battle dies”, Gulf News April 29). Evans was suffering from a degenerative condition that caused irreversible brain damage and left him in a miserable condition. It was a sad situation and no parent would want to give up on their child, however bad the situation may be. Finally, with the consent of the court ruling the doctors turned off the life supporting system as there was no hope for survival. Even Pope Francis wanted this child to be shifted to the Bambino Gesu Paediatric hospital in Rome, but the parents lost the battle legally. Evan’s case triggered lengthy debates on the rights of both parents and children as well as medical interventions, responsibilities of hospitals and the role of the state. Let us all support his parents to overcome their grief.

From Mr Eappen Elias

Dubai, UAE

Need to condemn such crime

Rape is a sin, a curse on humanity and above all, it is a punishable offence. It is a violent crime that has been continuously on the rise in India. To make it a communal issue for gaining cheap popularity and score a point by political parties is highly shameful. We need to condemn the act and the monsters who commit such heinous crimes with one voice. Perhaps, such belligerent and disgraceful acts crop up in our society just because the moral and religious values of the society seem to be on the decline. Time is ripe. We need to be determined and pay attention to introduce better moral education in India’s educational institutions and other social organisations. Besides making the rape law more stringent, media too needs to be unbiased, unprejudiced and impartial in flashing such sensitive stories.

From Mr Shiben Krishen Raina


Children need a school environment

Home schooling or traditional schooling, is the choice of an individual (“Facebook debate: Is home schooling a better option?”, Gulf News, April 29). As a parent, I disagree with the notion of home-schooling. By sending our children to school we are not only wishing for their academic success, but their development of skills, which should be inculcated through observing, understanding and grasping. A sense of camaraderie, the talent of mingling and socialising, making friends, the ability to learn how to sympathise and empathise and to understand the culture and tradition of different facet of life is possible in a country like the UAE. It is a melting pot of cultures. Above all, the atmosphere of school, full of vibrant children, energetic teachers and playgrounds create the exposure a child needs to expand his or her skills and such things can help trigger children to immerse themselves in the world of knowledge. A school environment is one where a child can learn, study, imitate, emulate, develop, experiment and get more exposure than a lone teacher in a home. Teen children cannot be handled easily inside the restricted walls of a home. High tuition fee is the yard stick of deciding the future education of children and it shouldn’t be the factor that is denying them their education, as well as the opportunity to work with people of their own age and have memories to cherish and remember in life. lf the fee is higher, the authorities should help them find schools that are economical. Giving a school environment to our children is every parent’s duty. Till they mature, we are deciding their future.

From Ms Shemeem Shafeeque


Home-schooling is better

Parents are learning alternate ways to educate their children that does not include sending them to school. Everyone has their own reason not to, and this is not just because of high tuition fees. I want to school my children because it gives me and my children the freedom to choose what we want to learn and how we want to learn it. As a student myself, I went through a lot in school and I never liked it. I don’t want my children to go through the same.

From Mr Mohammad Shameer Moosa Khan


Languages should be celebrated

We are all proud of our mother tongues – be it Hindi, Arabic or French. Yet, no one can disagree with the fact that knowing the English language in itself is a thing of pride for many, as well as a necessity. It is a language that has brought millions of people, from different nations, together. To remind everyone about the importance of this language, you have the English Language Day - April 23. This date was chosen as it is both the birth and the death anniversaries of William Shakespeare, one of the greatest English poets and dramatists of all times. English literature has also produced great masterpieces and the language has evolved over its use in various forms in both prose and poetry through ages. Speaking of English literacy, who has not read Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield or Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew? I still remember those novels, their beauty and the way they were written. The beauty of the works has been brought out by the choice of words and the way the writers have used the language. This special day not only aims to spread awareness about such great writers and their timeless classics but also to cultivate a habit of reading and writing in people, thus promoting the language. Every day should be English Language Day so that people will realise the importance of this global language.

From Ms Rose Vincent


Concerned about people

As a leader, you need to compromise some things for the benefit of the country (“Work ban on Filipinos in Kuwait ‘permanent’: Duterte”, Gulf News, April 30). At least the President of the Philippines is concerned about his people, unlike other leaders who don’t care and are just greedy for the position. May God’s speed be with the people of the Philippines.

From Mr Avodroc S.


Facebookj comment

Depression can’t be seen

Parents must check their child’s mobile phone once in a while (“Deepika Padukone weighs in on gender pay gap”, Gulf News, April 27). They need to talk to their children like they are best friends. Let your kids feel comfortable with you so that they can discuss anything with you. People with depression sometimes hide it. We cannot notice it very easily. We think they are doing okay but the truth is that they are not. Talk to every member of your family. Be more observant. I offer my condolences to their families.

From Mr Arg J. D.


Facebook comment

Editor’s note: Is there a news report that you feel strongly about? Something that has to be addressed in the community and requires resolution? Email us on You can also post a comment on our Facebook page or tweet to us @GNReaders