UAE official reassures teachers worried by mall stabbing

uae official reassures teachers worried by mall stabbing UAE official reassures teachers worried by mall stabbingAbu Dhabi, UAE: Education and law enforcement officials met on Wednesday with foreign teachers in the capital to assure them the horrific Reem Island murder is a lone incident of its kind in the UAE.

“The crime was an act of cowardice by an irresponsible individual and it is alien to the UAE community.

“In our country, we prioritise human rights and the safety and well-being of our residents,” said Dr Amal Al Qubaisi, director general at Abu Dhabi Emirate’s education sector regulator, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec).

Dr Amal was addressing a gathering of teachers, many of whom worked closely with murdered American schoolteacher Ibolya Ryan. Ryan was stabbed to death on December 1 in a washroom at Reem Island’s Boutik Mall. The prime suspect in the crime is a 38-year-old Emirati woman, who also allegedly targeted another American citizen by placing a bomb outside his apartment.

Abu Dhabi Emirate employs a host of foreign teachers at state schools to aid in the rolling out of its New School Model state school curriculum, which prioritises creativity and critical thinking over rote learning. At the start of the 2014-2015 academic year, for instance, 144 new expatriate teachers were employed.

Ryan, who is survived by three children aged 11 and 13 years, was a teacher at Al Oula Kindergarten school. She had started working at the state school in September 2013.

“We at the Adec have always worked together as one family and this incident does not change those values. We all need to work together to ensure the UAE’s young minds develop into smart citizens who can contribute to the development of their nation. At the same time, we will spare no efforts to provide for our personnel and their comforts,” Dr Amal said.

Since the murder, Ryan’s ex-husband Paul, who had custody of the couple’s 13-year-old daughter, has flown down to take care of their twin sons. Adec has already offered financial support for the children’s education.

Dr Amal also visited Al Oula School earlier this week to meet with teachers and pay her respects.

She was accompanied at yesterday’s talk by officials from the Abu Dhabi Police, including Captain Salem Al Ameri, director of the Community Police department, and Lieutenant Fahad Al Harithi from the Office of Victim Affairs. Both officials expressed their condolences to the Adec teachers in attendance, and thanked residents who had provided information that was crucial to identifying and arresting the Emirati suspect.

The violent crime has rocked the UAE community, especially many who live near Ryan’s former residence on Reem Island. One teacher told Gulf News that she had been in the UAE for more than 10 years and had never come across such a crime.

© Gulf News

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