Ministry of Education sets bad precedent allowing exemptions

DUBAI — The exemption policy adopted by Dr Jamal Al Muhiri, Under-Secretary in the Ministry of Education (MoE), allowing children of UAE national citizens and Arab expatriates not to study Arabic language and Islamic instructions, has set a precedent.

By Mohsen Rashid

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Published: Sat 18 Mar 2006, 10:56 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:30 PM

The MoE has received more applications from nationals and expatriates seeking to exempt their children from studying the two subjects.

Juma Al Salami, the Assistant Under-Secretary in the MoE for Private Education, said that he was surprised last Wednesday when an expatriate Arab man working in Dubai Police establishment sought similar exemption for his daughter who is a grade six student of the Arab Unity Private School.

Juma Al Salami said the agitated father had asked that his daughter be permitted to study the subjects of the non-Arabic students and threatened that if the ministry did not accept his application, he will change his daughter's nationality to that of her mother who is a foreigner.

Khaleej Times correspondent and another journalist were eyewitnesses to what happened in Juma Al Salami's chamber. The official had apologised to the father and told him that there could be no exceptions.

In yet another case, a UAE national father of a student girl in Westminster Private School sought exemption for his daughter from studying the two subjects but the ministry rejected his application. He had also threatened that he would change the religion of his daughter to exempt her from studying Arabic language and Islamic instructions.

Meanwhile, well-known businessman Juma Al Majid in an interview with the media on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Arabic Islamic Studies College emphasised the importance of studying the Arabic language. He said the concerned departments should take action and take a decision to oblige all schools to teach Arabic language and make it the main language.

Juma Al Majid in fact praised the pioneering role of the foreign schools in UAE but underlined the importance of studying the Arabic language fearing that "we will discover ourselves without it within the next few years".

Juma Al Salami stressed that the ministry will take all measures to protect the Arabic language.

The ministry, he said, will take strict action against the immoral behaviour of some students inside the schools. He was referring to the misconduct of a student of Abu Obaida bin Al Jarah School in Ajman who took some indecent photographs of himself and showed them to his classmates as well as the immoral attitude of a girl student of Al Marifah School, Sharjah, who also circulated her nude pictures among her friends using her mobile phone.

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