Abu Dhabi: Health and social issues, education, jobs and reduced school fees are some of the areas being highlighted by candidates during the last leg of campaigning for the Federal National Council elections. The campaigning ends on October 4, with voting on October 5 and results being announced the same day.
The candidates have been in the campaigning mode since September 8, conveying their social and economic ideas through social media sites, roadside hoardings, print and electronic media.
Ameena Abdullah Al Mazrouei, a female Emirati candidate from the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, is highlighting social issues such as stipend for widows, retired people, jobs for Emiratis and the underprivileged, and healthcare and education.
Al Mazrouei works as a Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist at the judicial department of Abu Dhabi.
Speaking to Gulf News on Sunday, Al Mazrouei said, “Skyrocketing prices of schools have put families under tremendous pressure, so I would like to chalk out a criteria for school fees pricing as per their facilities and propose reasonable fees to the government to implement to ease the financial burden on families.”
She said the fees for Kindergarten should be reasonable. “I would pitch for reducing the rising school fees, which range between Dh25,000 and Dh65,000 for KG,” she said.
Each school, she said, must explain the criterion for school fees and the details of services provided by it, such as the extracurricular activities.
“If the services are not at par, the fees should be low,” she said.
According to the National Election Committee (NEC), the total number of candidates for the Federal National Council (FNC) elections includes 495 names – 133 from Abu Dhabi, 88 from Dubai, 114 from Sharjah, 61 from Ras Al Khaimah, 26 from Ajman, 20 from Umm Al Quwain, and 53 from Fujairah.
Over 337,738 Emiratis will vote during the polls, marking a 50.58 per cent increase from 224,281 electoral college members in 2015.
Al Mazrouei pointed to the issue of widows being under more financial pressure due to the rising cost of living. “The widows’ monthly [stipend] of Dh5,000 is fixed and it is not enough for the whole month. I would study cases to find out their sources of income and raise their issues in the parliament,” she said. Some widows, she said are owners of buildings and thus receive a good amount of rent each month but others don’t. “We should focus on their children’s studies and expenses,” Al Mazrouei said.
Al Mazrouei also aims to increase the presence of local teachers in government and private schools. Currently, 51 per cent teachers in public schools and 4 per cent in private schools are local.
“I would push for more Emiratisation in public and private schools,” she said.