Cheating culture begins with bad example being set

The cause of the pervading cheating culture in UAE schools and universities is examined by parents and teachers. Other topics: knee problems and prayer, road rage briton and more mega malls.

A reader says the culture of cheating in UAE schools and universities begins with the wrong example being set. Photo: Jeff Topping / The National
Powered by automated translation

I was so glad to see the topic of cheating brought up in Ayesha Almazroui's column (We need to take a tougher stance on cheating students, July 7).

I am an American married to an Emirati therefore I find myself raising several Emirati children. I am grateful to be raising my children in the UAE and there are so many aspects of this culture that I am thrilled to pass on to my children but I am shocked by the culture of copying and cheating from elementary school onwards.

I want my children to be confident and capable in school, work and life. To be able to solve problems and work out creative solutions without outside assistance, their work has to be their own and they have to have struggled through tough times and failure. They have to work.

My children attend an elementary school run by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) and are still learning from their teachers what is right and wrong.

The most disturbing thing I have seen is when children are given a project, they copy information and paste it into the presentation. Even if they are unable to read the presentation to the class, the teacher will say nothing and give them a pass mark – or worse, a star. The result is they learn that copying and pasting is acceptable and correct.

These presentations are often then placed on the school’s bulletin boards with comments such as “awesome work” on them. Why do none of our our highly-educated and highly-experienced teachers, the school administrators and even visiting Adec experts notice?

My suspicion is that they do and they turn a blind eye. This creates a much larger problem and raises the question of who we should really blame for this culture of cheating.

Name withheld by request

As an English teacher in a high school in the UAE, I have found it quite shocking to see the various ways students are allowed to cheat during each exam season – even to the extent of teachers openly giving students the full answers to exam questions during exams.

The real issue is that the cheating culture is so deeply ingrained that it will not be altered without direct involvement at government level to ensure the integrity of student achievement.

Only then will there be lasting change.

Cordel Browne, Abu Dhabi

Obesity the issue, not prayer time

Your article, Obesity and prayer damages knees (July 7), offended large numbers of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. I think the connection being made does not exist and is absolutely irrelevant.

While I agree that obesity can damage knees and other joints, I strongly disagree that praying five times a day is damaging to the knees, and especially for overweight individuals. In fact, a lot of scientific research proves Islamic prayer postures are beneficial to the body and mind, similar to Yoga.

It is obesity and not praying five times a day that is the primary cause of joint issues. In addition, sitting for long hours in cars or behind desks aggravates knee pain and problems.

By contrast, the movements done during prayers are considered to be a form of stretching for stressed muscles.

There are many ways to perform prayers that do not require prostration. In any mosque you will find chairs for Muslims who have back or knee issues that prevent them from performing a certain move during prayer.

Rania Badawi, Dubai

Why would praying five times a day – something Emiratis have been doing for a long time – be blamed for the sudden increase in knee replacements?

It might make sense to attribute it to the combination of obesity and praying frequently, but that means obesity is the new variable causing this increase, not prayer.

Usman Saleemi, Pakistan

Divergent views on road-rage Briton

With regard to your article about a driver being fined Dh2,000 (Briton convicted of endangering other motorist in Dubai road rage incident, July 7) are the lives involved really worth only Dh2,000?

In most other countries, the fine would be many times higher and he might have been disqualified from driving.

John Paravalos, Dubai

If someone flashes you, get out of the way! The law says that you have to give way in the fast lane regardless of what the limit is.

This guy might be considered extreme but I salute what he did.

Roshan Ajit Kumar, Al Ain

For brand Dubai, more is better

You ask if Dubai needs another mall (The mall the merrier, July 7).

I believe it does. Dubai Mall is already the world’s most visited attraction, with 80 million people a year, and this mall will double that. It’s great for brand Dubai.

Michael Cardy, Dubai