Replying to a question in this regard at the Federal National Council session on Tuesday, Al Qattami said any such change will causehurdles for parents who drop their children in schools and then proceed to their workplaces in government sector.
Al Qattami was answering to Shaikha Essa Al Ari, FNC member from Umm Al Quwain, who asked about changing school hours in winter and summer to reduce the number of road fatalities involving children.
Al Qattami stated that the ministry did not receive any complaint or any request about the school timings. The current school timings are more suitable for many parents as well as the students. As per the climate of the country, the present school timings suit to residents and no adverse impact have been witnessed, Al Qattami said.
Shaikha Essa said at the session that an amendment in school hours will reduce the number of road accidents. In fact, children usually leave home as early as 6am to reach school for a 7am start, when parents perform Fajr prayers. During winter season when they go out for school it remains dark which invites accidents, she said.
In 2010, four students were died and 20 students were injured in early morning accidents, whereas in summer there were reports that students contracted with numerous heat-related diseases, Shaikha said.
Shaikha urged the minister to take the matter into account and introduce new summer and winter schedule for schools.
She said school traffic, whether private or school buses, when added to commercial traffic, made road accidents more likely.
She also proposed that if the schools would open an hour or two later in winter, which will further ensure safety of pupils. She also requested the minister to kindly seek comments from parents about the matter and seriously look into it.
If any adverse climatic condition occurs in the country, which is found not suitable for students, the educational zones of the country are fully capable to manage it as per the situation, Al Qattami said.
Musabah Al Kitbi, FNC member from Sharjah, noted that there are only seven per cent Emirati teachers in the government schools across the country, which is an alarming statistics.
Al Kitbi said there is a big shortage of local male teachers and recommended the Ministry of Education (MoE) to select students from secondary schools and sign a contract with them so that they could turn up to the ministry after finishing their education and offer them a fixed stipend of Dh5,000 per month during education tenure.
Al Kitbi said only seven per cent of 9,000 available teachers were men. Two years ago, not a single male student was enrolled at the UAE University’s education college, he said in a question to the Minister of Education.
Al Kitbi also suggested that teachers’ salaries should be increased to encourage local participation. The number of teachers who resigned at the beginning of this year alone is very high, he said. In reply to Al Kitbi, Al Qattami said, the percentage of women working in the education sector has reached at 79. The representation of men in this sector is very poor, so we hope that we could find solid solution in future, Al Qattami said.
For example, in 2011, Emirati men who approached the ministry for vacant positions were only 22, while women submitted 528 applications, of which 361 were selected, Al Qattami said.
With the kind instruction of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ministry is putting all efforts to increase the number of male teachers. “I am sure that the number of men in the teaching and other education fields is going to jump up in future,” Al Qattami said.