Dubai: Hundreds of public schools in the UAE started their mid-year holiday on Sunday, giving students a break from their exams and drivers a break from traffic.
While public schools will be closed for two weeks, some private schools have already ended their spring break while some others are starting. The disparity between public and private sector holidays continues this year despite the Ministry of Education’s decision to unify holidays of public and private schools.
“School buses and parents driving children to and back from school definitely have a large role in causing traffic congestion. Now that students go on their mid-year vacation, traffic will definitely decrease,” said Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Director General of Dubai Police’s Traffic Department. He said traffic was less during the vacations last year and he expects the same this year.
To learn more about students’ plans for the mid-year vacation and how these plans can contribute to reducing traffic, Gulf News spoke to parents.
Stay-at-home Jordanian mother-of-two May Al Khatib told Gulf News that she will send her son, Amer, 9, and daughter, Farah, 8, to visit their grandmother in Jordan . “In two days I will be sending them to Jordan, it will be the first time they will be travelling alone so I am sure that it will be an interesting experience for them. A lot of families take advantage of this vacation and travel which definitely contributes to decreasing traffic.”
Minister of Education Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami revealed in April 2012 that holidays for all public and private schools, colleges and universities across the UAE are to be unified.
The unification of the academic calendar for the academic year 2012-2013 was the result of an agreement between the ministries of Education and Higher Education in order to enrich the stability of families, Al Qutami said.
Despite the fact that the decision stated that schools must have a three-week holiday after the first semester, and two weeks after the second semester, many private schools are not abiding by this.
Gulf News also spoke to parents of students who attend private schools and whose holidays ended on Sunday. Parents also shared their thoughts on not having unified holidays.
Madhu Madan, the mother of Arushi, 14, who is an environmentalist and social worker, said, “My daughter participated in environmental events such as the Earth Hour event at the Burj Plaza where she was called on stage to be honoured for her environmental work and also for receiving the Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performers.”
When it comes to unifying school holidays, Madan stated: “I do not think that it is possible to unify this because it depends on the curriculum. Take the Indian curriculum CBSE [Central Board for Secondary Education], for example, If we unify holidays with schools in the UAE then we will not be unified with the CBSE schools in India. ”
Noor Nazzal is a trainee at Gulf News