Dubai/Abu Dhabi: Most private schools will open as per the original schedule, and will not be affected by the Ministry of Education's decision to postpone reopening till September 23.
The decision to extend the summer holidays until the end of Eid Holidays will be binding only on government schools and private schools that follow the ministry's curriculum.
However, in Abu Dhabi, a spokesperson from the Al Worood Academy Private School, who adhere to the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), said the school will be resuming the 2009-2010 academic year on September 23, in line with the MoE proposal.
"We felt that students, parents and the ministry preferred that decision and are in the process of submitting our recommendation to the ministry.
"The MoE requires that private schools make up for the missing school days through 175 actual teaching days, and as far as we are concerned we will be able to do that through extending our next academic year next June and cutting two to three days off from upcoming holidays across the year," said the source.
Al Nahda International School, Abu Dhabi, (which follows the IGCSE and GCE A-level programmes), have also decided to start the new academic year by September 23.
A senior official from the Ministry of Education (MoE) told Gulf News that even though the ministry has proposed to have a unified academic beginning and year among both private and public schools, the decision continues to remain up to the individual private school, who have their own time-frame preparations in accordance to international curriculums.
Last week, the ministry of education announced that all government and private schools in the UAE will reopen on September 23, after the Eid Holidays.
The decision to extend summer holidays by three more weeks was made considering the fact that the Holy month of Ramadan coincides with the scheduled opening in the first week of September.
But on Wednesday, the Minister of Education Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami said the decision would affect only public schools and private schools that follow the ministry's curriculum.
"Private schools that teach a non-ministry curriculum have the choice to start in September with the beginning of Ramadan or to follow the government decision to delay the 2009-10 school year," said the minister.
The ministry maintained that it cannot force private schools to follow the ministry's decision, even though they prefer that all schools start the new academic year in the same time.
However, many schools in Dubai said they have not been given a choice and that the Knowledge and Human Development Authority has asked them to adhere to the pre-approved reopening dates.
While many Asian schools are opening on August 30 and 31, the majority of the international schools are reopening on September 6.
GEMS, which runs over 20 private schools in the country, said they will open as per schedule before the first week of September.
Other schools have decided to open as per their original plans.
Susan Johnston, Principal of Al Salam Private School said they have not been given the choice to decide.
"Some of our parents and staff have already changed their ticket bookings, but when I contacted the authorities I have been asked to follow the pre-approved date of September 6. I think there will only be 50 per cent attendance when we open," said the principal.
Dr Robert Thompson, Head of Special Projects Department at the Abu Dhabi Education Council, told Gulf News that he feels it is highly unlikely that American, British and French schools would want to start the year after Ramadan.
"These schools follow an international curriculum that requires long teaching hours. I would expect that they are unlikely to alter their calendar and will probably stick to the normal academic school days," said Thompson.
The American Community School (ACS) has confirmed that they will stay with their adopted calendar.
"We look forward to welcoming students for the first day of school on August 17," their website states.
Similarly, Raha International School, who offer the International Baccalaureate, will receive newly enrolled students by September 1 and regular students September 2.
i would prefer the ministry rule as it is difficult for the students as well as for the teachers to concenterarte in the holy month of ramadan because of their fast and its matter of 20 days and the school have to close for eid holidays so its better for the schools to reopen after eid holidays
Posted: July 10, 2009, 18:25
I am a mother and i myself think that childern should get holidays because children cannot bare the hot weather and become sick. My advice to the ministry is that all schools should get holidays it should be compalsery that all schools should get holidays not privet school only.I think that the desion should be on parents not on the school. And gemes school should also close .PLESE CLOSE ALL SCHOOLS AND REOPEN IT ON 23 SEP. PLESE!!! :@:@
Posted: July 10, 2009, 17:31
It's a very bad decision of private schools (gems) to start the schools in august. The MoE WAS RIGHT ,THE SCHOOLS should start after eid holidays . we fast and we know how difficult it is to fast.please private schools, dont do such a bad thing. START FROM 23RD START FROM23RD ....
Posted: July 10, 2009, 16:21
Well I think that all schools should open on September 23 because most of the students will be fasting and might cause problems. As I have witnessed last year during Ramadan many students didn't keep their fast because it was very hot. So I think all the schools should follow the MoE decision.
Mohammad Ullah Khan
Posted: July 10, 2009, 16:08
In my opinion it's better that the schools re-open as per their previous schedule. This is not the time to discuss this matter. It should have been discussed earlier before the summer vacations. Do this next year ok thanx. Sheraz khan (parent)
Posted: July 10, 2009, 15:54
It is difficult to fast in summer and more difficult while school is open too. I have kids and I feel it very much. But religion has given no exemption, except advice to reduce physical labor of workers. Anyway as a father I'll always prefer not to send my kids to school in Ramadan summer and MoE should implement it strictly for all private schools like all other government. Instructions irrespective of nationality and religion. The over anxious study crazy parents should think about natural disasters which causes schools to close for months.
Mohammad Jahangir Kabir
Posted: July 10, 2009, 15:31
I think the decision to open schools which run IGCSE and A Level curriculum after the Eid is not intelligent. How can they extend their teaching days (as the external exams will be on their regular schedule). It is not the first time that Ramadan is in teaching days. Therefore it should be decided before summer vacation starts. Now it is a mess.
Posted: July 10, 2009, 15:05
Just because the Ramadan coincides with the summer holidays it is not right to change the school calendar. Schools have their normal schedule. It does matter a lot postponing the school reopening by 10 days!
Posted: July 10, 2009, 14:54
The Ministry should give clear guidelines in the first place. Last week it was announced that all schools have to adhere to Ramadan break, and within a week's time they changed it and made it optional. Taking this opportunity most schools reverted back to their original schedule. What about all the families who have already changed their ticket bookings? Now, do you expect them to again change back to earlier dates?
Posted: July 10, 2009, 14:45
The decision taken by the Ministry of Education is really commendable. It will help a lot, especially those who are fasting in the Holy month of Ramadan. The overall teaching work can be easily compensated using winter holidays or some other holidays. In fact more work can be done, because in the month of Ramadan the teaching periods are so short that teachers can't do much instead in winter holidays or other than Ramadan month teaching hours are more and portion can be comfortably completed and the number of days can also be compensated easily. I, personally feel that all the schools should follow the decision of MOE. Expatriates who are with their families in their respective countries will be very happy to accept it.
Posted: July 10, 2009, 14:07
This is a good decision.
Posted: July 10, 2009, 13:57
I think the decision to open schools which run IGCSE and A Level curriculum after the Eid is not intelligent. How can they extend their teaching days (as the external exams will be on their regular schedule). It is not the first time that Ramadan is in teaching days. Therefore it should have been decided before summer vacation starts. Now it is a mess.
Posted: July 10, 2009, 13:41
I feel that all schools including schools that follow the non-ministry curriculum should open on the 23rd September because even though the people in the international schools are not Muslims, they still have to follow the same rules. I being a student myself find it particulary hard during Ramadan because I can't have a drink of water when I come inside the room from the heat. I don't mind losing a few holidays if it means getting away from the stifling heat in September.
Posted: July 10, 2009, 13:15
Schools should be opened after the EID only. Private schools should follow the Ministry's decision. They are making unnecessary issue. They should respect the Ministry and Muslims.
Posted: July 10, 2009, 12:56
Many families are still confused regarding this announcement.
Posted: July 10, 2009, 12:42
As a student, I felt excited that holidays were going to start in late September. But now if the Ministry of Education gives a choice for all schools, no school would open on 23. In this heat and temperature, going to school is a punishment for me and others. If it was to start on normal schedule, it is worthless announcing it in the paper. So many people have changed their tickets and confirmed them. Who will pay for changing the confirmed tickets? MOE? Schools? No one can give this answer!
Posted: July 10, 2009, 12:41
I think schools should re-open after eid because its better for parents and children and regarding the twelve days the can remove it from the mid-term and Easter holiday.
Posted: July 10, 2009, 11:24
I cant believe it. The ministry cant make a decision and say "Thats it?". I cant believe we have to go to school during the Holy Month of Ramadan to school just so we save 10 days of school. Who ever are fasting only know how hard it is to fast during Ramadan and go to school. Having only 1 hours of sleep. And who ever say thats what Ramadan is for. I say to you why dont you fast and see. In my school couple of boys tried, the very next hour during break they were sipping apple juice and eating. They were surprised on how i did it. I am a year 12 student, and i am ready to extend the school hours. Its only 10 days, i dont know whats the big isssue.
Posted: July 10, 2009, 10:59