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Teachers object to book showing Jewish children

Mohsen Rashid
Filed on March 29, 2005

DUBAI — Education authorities here have promised to review a book taught in an international private school that features a photograph of two Jewish children sporting plaited hair and yarmulke.

Dr Obaid Butti Al Mohiri, the Director of Curriculums Centre at the Ministry of Education, said he would order the withdrawal of the book for primary Class I of the Dubai International School if the complaints raised were found genuine.

Several teachers of the school telephoned Khaleej Times, complaining against the picture, captioned ‘We play together; we stick together’, featured in the book Friends Forever. The teachers said that of all the pictures in the book, the students reacted sharply to only this picture.

When approached, the Educational Zone took the stand that its role was only mediating between private schools and the Curriculum Centre. The zone receives textbooks from the schools and sends them to the centre for scrutiny.

A source in the school said that these books were imported from outside the country and had not been reviewed.

When contacted, Dr Mohiri expressed anger that the matter was brought to him. “What should we do when we do not have enough staff to review textbooks in more than 400 schools countrywide?”

Dr Mohiri said he had been suggesting for two years to hire adequate staff, but his plea has remained unanswered. “We lack staff to follow up these books at schools as well as compel schools to send these books before distributing them to students,” he said.

“What we could only do a year ago was to ask all school managements to review and check these books and submit a written undertaking along with copies of these books to the ministry that they had done so,” he recalled.

Dr Mohiri said the ministry had set standards and rule to be adhered to when checking the books. In the event of sighting any violation, the school would be held responsible and the books withdrawn, he said. “Most such violations were discovered by parents, who in turn, notify us.”

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