Dubai: Families in the UAE are gearing up for a longer school summer break this year, with 13 extra days covering both Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha.
According to the Cabinet-approved unified academic calendar, the summer break for students this year starts on June 23 and ends on September 9 – almost two weeks longer than last year.
The Abu Dhabi Education Council confirmed to Gulf News that June 22 will be the last school day for students this academic year, with pupils returning to class on September 10.
Similarly, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai has also published the same summer break dates for private Dubai schools on its website.
This year, Eid Al Fitr is expected to fall on June 25 while Eid Al Adha is estimated to occur on September 1. The exact dates will depend on the sighting of the moon as the Muslim festivals are based on the lunar calendar.
The arrangement means expat families going on summer holiday this year can celebrate both Eids with loved ones back home in one stretch.
Last year, Eid Al Adha fell on September 12, around two weeks after schools had reopened following the summer break. Most families on holiday abroad had returned in time for the reopening.
Some foreign schools – mostly Indian and Pakistani curriculum – will have different dates for the summer break. Private schools not following the Ministry of Education curriculum are allowed around a week’s leeway in setting their summer break dates. They are granted the flexibility to align themselves more closely with the schedule of term exams and break followed in their home country.
Generally, schools in the UAE must ensure they maintain a minimum number of school days in the academic year. This academic year has 184 school days while the next academic year will be shorter, at 181 school days.
Parents said they are looking forward to the summer break, especially because it is longer this year. Shabina, an Indian housewife whose two children attend a British school in Sharjah, said she plans to go on holiday soon after June 1 – the last day of exams for her children.
“For us, the break begins when the exams end. So I plan to be back home for June, July and August. I might stay a few days more for Eid Al Adha. I hope to celebrate both Eids back home; the chance to do that has come after so many years,” she added.
Even though this summer break will be longer, a few parents invariably send their children back to school late, said Prof M. Abu Bakr, principal of Scholars Indian School in Ras Al Khaimah.
“Parents are happy the summer break is longer and some of them are planning to spend both Eids back home. But I know there will inevitably be a few latecomers, who will send their children back to school after September 10. They don’t explicitly say it, but they come back late because they want a cheaper air fare or simply more days off,” Prof M. Abu Bakr added.
“We educate them about not being late in returning the children to school after the summer break. But for a small percentage of parents, they will still be away on September 10.”
— with inputs by Samihah Zaman, Staff Reporter
UAE school summer break 2017 (for students)
Start: June 23
End: September 9
Number of days: 79 days
Note: For Dubai private schools whose academic year begins in April (mostly Indian and Pakistani schools), the summer break begins June 25 and ends September 5.
Teachers and school staff start the summer break later and end it sooner than students. This year, their summer break starts July 7 and ends September 2.