KHDA Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: Did you know how many boys named Mohammed study in Dubai? Or for that matter the number of girls who go by the name Maryam?

Well, making this unlikely revelation, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai has generated quite a buzz in the tweep community over the past few days.

“There are 14,947 students named Mohammed in Dubai’s private schools, and they spell their names in 37 different ways,” the education regulator tweeted on November 3, adding, “Can you guess the top three most popular spellings?”

Needless to say, the question sparked an animated discussion, with residents promptly tweeting their guesses. The list of top three choices was long. One resident said she had three sons, all of whose first names were spelt as Muhammad. “So for me the most popular spelling is Muhammad.” Another tweep said, “It depends on which country/culture you are coming from,” and from where he came, the two most commonly used spellings were Muhammad or Mohammad, he added.

It was only on the next day that KHDA provided its answer. “The answer is 4,153 boys spell their name Muhammed, 3,704 use Mohammed and 3,435 use Mohammad. A close 4th is Mohamed, the name of 2,142 boys,” it tweeted.

“What about Muhammad?” someone wanted to know.

“It’s spelled that way by 939 boys,” came the prompt reply.

Most popular girl’s name

Encouraged by the huge response it received, KHDA decided to spring another question.

“Ok, let’s play again!” it tweeted. “The most popular girl’s name at Dubai private schools is Maryam – and it’s spelled 15 different ways. Can you guess how many girls have that name, and what the top 3 spellings are?”

KHDA Image Credit: Supplied

“Maryam, Mariam, Maryem”; “Maryam, Mariam, Marium”; “Mariam, Maryam, Mariyam” … the varied responses came in quick succession.

Providing the correct answer yesterday, KHDA said, “There are 3,076 girls named Maryam at Dubai’s private schools. The top 3 ways they spell their names are: Maryam – 2,052 girls, Mariam – 850 girls, Mariyam – 120 girls.”

“Have you got a #StraightUpStats question for us?” the regulator asked, adding, “Let us know, and we’ll try to get you the answer.”