Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Ras Al Khaimah: The academic year began in full swing on Sunday with most of the schools marking above 90 per cent attendance. Principals said children were excited to be back in school after a long holiday and teachers welcomed students by organising special events.

Many schools organised an open day for the new students and children were taken on a tour of the campus. They were also given awareness lectures about swine flu and the preventive measures to be taken while in school.

Entisar Eisa, principal of Maria Al Kubtiya Public School for Girls in Dubai, said, "Today's attendance was almost complete. Only a few students were absent. We had an open day and we took the girls to the Dubai Metro, which they absolutely enjoyed. Everything went smoothly today as we have no cases of swine flu. We have assured our parents that we are following the guidelines given by the Ministry of Health which include keeping sanitisers in every class and checking students' temperature daily."

Many parents took time out to drop their wards to schools as they began classes for the new academic year. Fatima Abdullah, a mother of two, said she wanted to accompany her daughters Asma and Aliya to school as they were cranky. "It was a long three months and they became used to waking up late in the morning. So today they were cranky when they had to be up by 6.30am. I think, they will be back to their old routine of early to bed and early to rise within a week."

However, many children were enthusiastic about meeting their friends and teachers. "It is a good feeling to go to school though we are a bit worried that teachers will rush through the lessons and load us with assignments to cover the portions for this year," said Ahmad Al Za'abi, a grade 12 student of Dubai's Al Maktoum Boys School.

In Abu Dhabi, public school attendance yesterday seemed to be back to normal, with 90 to 100 per cent of pupils attending classes.

According to a school supervisor in a girl's public school, Aisha Om Al Momeneyn, attendance yesterday was up to 90 per cent, whereas on the first and second days of school only 50 to 55 per cent of the students showed up.

"Almost 730 girls came to school today. I believe attendance was poor on the first and second days because parents were not sure if schools were delayed or not, as done in Egypt and Qatar. Also, due to Eid, parents didn't feel like sending their kids to school in the middle of the week," said the supervisor.

Only 30 per cent of students in Al Thorya girl's school, which runs Grades 6 to Grade 9, came to school on the first day. However, yesterday, attendance rose to almost 100 per cent.

"Almost all our 500 girls were present in today's morning queue. There were hardly any missing spaces," the vice principal told Gulf News.

A boy's public school, Sultan Al Ameen, only had 30 per cent of its students present on the first day of school, and that rose to 50 per cent on the second day and a huge increase of up to 90 per cent on Sunday.

"I believe the high absence was due to the fact that the school opened in the middle of the week and it was right after Eid, when all the parents were either travelling or out of the country," said the school's sports teacher.

Meanwhile, figures were much the same in Ras Al Khaimah, with about 95 per cent of students in the public and private schools.

A senior official at the zone said that attendance in schools, both public and private, came back to normal with very few absent students who are presumably outside the country.

Has your child rejoined school after the Eid holidays? Do you feel there is an added pressure on pupils due to the long break? Will it impact their academic performance?

Your comments

Now school children were very enthusiastic
Smitha Joseph
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: September 28, 2009, 15:37

yes of course...i too took 2 days of holiday and when i came back i found that in these 2 days 1 or 2 chapters are completed so u can think about the pressure on us .
From A Reader
Ras Al Khaimah,UAE
Posted: September 28, 2009, 15:21