Girls should be taught cooking in UAE schools, not rugby: FNC member
Al Shehhi pointed out that cooking classes are vital and should be part of the school curriculum.
Instead of teaching rugby, girls should be taught how to cook in schools, as it helps them to become “good housewives” after graduation, a Federal National Council (FNC) session heard on Tuesday.
Salem Al Shehhi, an FNC member, put forward the suggestion while the other members were discussing a need for a change in school curriculum during the session, held under Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, FNC Speaker, and attended by the Minister of State for Public Education, Jameela Al Muhairi.
According to Al Shehhi rugby is a “harsh sport” that girls should not join in schools.
“Rugby is one of the most dangerous sports out there. Instead of girls playing this sport, they should be taught important life skills in schools, which seems to have disappeared,” he said, referring to cooking classes.
“Imagine the day the girl graduates knowing how to play rugby, but not knowing how to cook. It is my duty to inform you what the people want, because this is not my opinion calling for this, it is the opinion of the people.”
Al Shehhi pointed out that cooking classes are vital and should be part of the curriculum, as cooking prepares young girls to become well equipped housewives in their future, adding that the classes are taught in academic institutions across the world, including in the US and Switzerland.
“I don’t see anything wrong with learning how to cook throughout their education.”
Students need to excel in all fields: Minister
In her reply, the education minister said that rugby “has been practised in the UAE,” and it is not a mandatory sport in schools. There are other options to choose from, including tennis and basketball.
She stressed that 60 per cent of schools in the country has included rugby, adding that it is important for students to excel in all fields, “It is crucial for us to include various activities for all students, and we will continue to work on that.”
However, Al Muhairi said that cooking classes and clubs will be introduced in schools, and girls will be taught how to cook healthy meals.
Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, FNC Speaker, who agreed that the sport helps strengthen students, said that fitness and wellbeing of students are not less important than education.
The FNC Speaker added that the authorities are also working on expanding sport facilities in public schools across the country.
Obesity a major concern, parents can play big role
Saeed Al Remeithi, a member of Federal National Council (FNC) who represents Abu Dhabi, asked Jameela Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education, how the ministry plans to reduce the staggering rates of obesity among school students in the UAE.
Al Remeithi said that students with weight issues require extra care, adding that they often suffer from psychological trauma.
Replying to the member, Al Muhairi said that the obesity rate in the UAE has decreased last year – from 14.4 per cent in 2016 to 13.6 per cent in 2017.
Nevertheless, Al Muhairi pointed out that the ministry is keeping an eye out on what children are consuming in schools and has held campaigns in schools to help spread awareness about the issue.
However, she stressed that combating obesity among youth begins at home. “There is nothing we can do about this issue if children are not eating healthy meals at home. We need all parents to cooperate with us.”