Gulf News Published: August 03, 2008, 23:35
The possibilities for parents Home-schooling is nothing new ("Home-schooling a way to beat rising fees", Gulf News, July 27). Before public schools became the norm around the 19th century, home-schooling was one of the main forms of education. One of the most-asked questions about home-schooling is about socialisation, which - in my view occurs as long as two or more people interact with one another. Generally, this interaction involves utilising and transferring norms, values, and customs so that people mature both individually and collectively. The real question about socialisation is: How does a parent wish for the child to be socialised? What will best help their children do well in life? In traditional schools, youngsters are put through the grades with others of their own age. They tend to be looked down upon by older children, and ignored by those who are younger. In many homeschooled families, children of all ages interact with one another. And children oftentimes learn how to respect and interact well with their elders. Thus, homeschooling could offer a better venue for socialisation. Gulf News's article raises the question of cost. As there are many creative ways of home-schooling, the costs vary from family to family. If one is not careful, the cost could be fairly significant. Then there is time commitment. If both parents work, usually one would have to cut back or quit employment to meet a child's educational needs. With so many questions and issues, I would recommend finding a seminar where parents could get a lot of questions answered. From Mr P. Devine Iraq Ideal solution I agree with the concept of home-schooling, although I am not sure how children are able to study, give their exams and acquire certificates without going to school ("Home-schooling a way to beat rising fees", Gulf News, July 27). I think the ideal solution would be for pupils to study in schools, and if their standard of education is not up to the mark, tutors should be able to help. From Mr Bala Mukesh UAE Studying at home As a teacher in a Dubai-based school, I felt that my children's education was not up to standard. Some private schools are lowering their education standards in order to please parents. My child was in the third grade and was given vocabulary words that I believe kindergarten pupils would be able to spell. As my children felt that they were not really learning anything, I decided to home-school them. I found many websites that offer help in teaching children at home. I know that schools offer a better social life, but I try my best to take them out of the house as much as possible. From Ms Elaine Talsam Dubai Frequently disappointed Being a frequent flyer, I have experienced flying with different airlines. It has become the norm for airlines to do away with stuff that they used to provide earlier, such as individual packs containing toiletries and simple goodies. Recently, while travelling with my grandchildren, I waited for the staff to give the

children some treats such as colouring books and crayons to keep them busy, but they were disappointed. It's even more odd that though the airfares are going up, the passengers who pay the fare receive no incentives. From Ms N. Rich UAE Equal opportunity Gulf News brings to the fore a very serious issue about the intellectual, academic and scientific future of the UAE ("Highly qualified Emiratis find themselves underemployed", Gulf News, July 28). By placing more emphasis on teaching, that too confined to a handful of areas and not focusing enough on research, is the basic problem of higher education in the UAE and the other Gulf countries. The existing universities must be encouraged to take up both major and minor research projects on various aspects of society or economy with financial support from the authorities. For preventing the frustration of the unemployed PhD degree holders, existing universities must appoint them as research associates with both teaching and research assignments, as a short-term strategy. From Dr Raju M. Mathew Al Ain Testing the water It makes sense for international organisations wishing to build their business portfolio in Abu Dhabi and other emirates to test the waters first. In many cases, this means initially bringing in staff from overseas and recruiting locally, only once the business has proved itself. It makes sense for Emirati graduates joining companies that adopt such an approach to join once the business model is sound. This should give them greater confidence in the prospects of their employer within the country and in other Gulf regions. From Mr Tim O'Neill Abu Dhabi Let people live What do terrorists achieve by killing innocent people ("Karnataka plans to issue ID cards for residents", Gulf News, July 29)? They often claim it is revenge, but I believe targeting innocent civilians does not achieve anything. Thanks to television, I am sure even the terrorists are aware of how much people suffer. We see people crying for their beloved ones, and children who lose their parents or are injured with no one around to take care of them. I have only one last thing to say - please stop this gruesome act and let people lead a normal life. From A Reader Sharjah Name withheld by request Always in a hurry I was delighted to read about the implementation of speed limits on minibuses ("Minibuses will have their speeds limited, say police", Gulf News, July 29). Some minibuses create real havoc on the streets, be it a highway or a busy internal city road. They often tailgate vehicles and flash their lights. Additionally, they always seem to be in a hurry to reach somewhere. It would be a good idea if the owner's telephone number were clearly displayed on the vehicles with the message: "Please report if my driving is bad." At least this way, they will fear being reported to their employers, who in turn could penalise them. From Mr Suresh B. Nair Abu Dhabi

Address the issue It would be more appropriate if the Sharjah Public Transport Corporation (SPTC) redirected the emphasis to mass transport instead of adding a new fleet of taxis ("New taxi fleet expected to fill high demand in Sharjah", Gulf News, July 28). The current step will achieve nothing. It will only add to road congestions, and other problems will not be addressed. The real issue is taxi drivers' refusal to go to other emirates because of traffic conditions. From A Reader Ajman Name withheld by request Law is necessary Rents in Abu Dhabi are increasing every month without any signs of slowing down. For a room that measures 150 square feet, we pay Dh3,000 and this excludes the water and electricity bills. I believe a consistent and comprehensive law needs to be passed by the authorities, as there does not seem to be an existing criterion for bachelor accommodation as well. I urge the authorities to do something about the situation. From Mr Simon George Abu Dhabi Good decision It would be a good decision to allow an individual to transfer from a visit visa to a job visa without the person having to leave the country ("System brings some calm to residency offices nationwide", Gulf News, July 30). It will save unnecessary travel. We should look further at simplifying procedures. From Ms Arifa Riaz UAE

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