UAE in the vanguard of children’s education - GulfToday

UAE in the vanguard of children’s education


Photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

Normally, one would associate fines or jail terms as an apt punishment for stepping out of line, specially where crime or breaching traffic laws or concerned. But it is truly rare to penalise someone for not going to school. And this is what the UAE has done.

Truly it is a trailblazer. In perhaps a first in the world, the UAE Public Prosecution, through a tweet posted on its accounts on social media, clarified the penalty for not enrolling a child in an educational institution in accordance with the Child Rights Law (Wadeema). The prosecution states that whoever violates this shall be punished in accordance with Article 60 with imprisonment or a fine of no less than Dhs5,000.

It just goes to show that the UAE is willing to go the distance, or the extra mile to ensure that children’s rights are protected. It is not wishy-washy about it.

The Public Prosecution indicates that according to Article 31 of the Child Rights Law (Wadeema), every child has the right to education, and the state is working to achieve equal opportunities for all children in accordance with the laws in force.

The Public Prosecution added that, according to Article 35 of the same law, the person responsible for the care of the child is prohibited from subjecting him to ostracism, vagrancy, neglect, or the habit of leaving him without supervision or follow-up.

Early this year, the Public Prosecution published an awareness video on its social media accounts, coinciding with the Emirati Children’s Day. The video upholds the dignity and highlights the potential punishment for exposing children to torture, violating their physical integrity or committing any act involving cruelty that affect children’s emotional, psychological or moral balance. Whoever does this shall either by jailed or fined no less than Dhs50,000.

There is no doubt that the UAE, like some other countries, pays a lot of attention to the rights of the child, particularly where education is concerned. And that includes schools.

The coronavirus, for a good part of last year and even 2021, had kept a lot of plans on hold, and that included children going back to school. In-person learning was a total no-no, rattling a lot of children who were so used to the fascinating school routine, even using the school ground for their games.

Remote education was the new normal. But they did not like being shackled to this virtual education, and the UAE saw to it that they were free from the distressing distance education. The UAE saw to it that the virus infections, and even casualties, were kept low. And in fact showed its resilience to the pandemic, and quite remarkably.

The result is there for all to see. Soon the gates of learning, that had been closed to the public, started opening, albeit with the virus curbs in place, as no one wanted to run foul of the authorities where pandemic rules were concerned.

The Sharjah Child Friendly Office (SCFO), a subsidiary of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA) in Sharjah, has roped in services to launch a back-to-school drive.

It launched a back-to-school campaign on its social media platforms to encourage and reassure children and young people that it was safe to return to classrooms, following the long summer vacation and the switch to distance learning in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic last year.

SCFO’s campaign features a range of interactive competitions for children and young people, social media posts and videos designed to encourage their return to classrooms and guide parents on how to support the shift to the school environment.

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