Dubai: Renowned for their comic tweets, the KHDA twitter handle did anything but raise a smile among parents on Tuesday night when they sent out a non-committal tweet on whether schools would be closed the next day due to inclement weather.
The KHDA or Knowledge and Human Development Authority is the regulator for private education in Dubai.
At 11.40pm on Tuesday, a full one hour and 46 minutes after the Ministry of Education had already tweeted that there would be no school on Wednesday due to expected rain, the KHDA tweeted, “In this weather, please let’s use our common sense. We want everyone to stay safe, and we trust principals and parents to decide what’s best for their own schools and families. Good night guys, sleep well.”
Needless to say, no one slept well, and the KHDA twitter handle was trolled.
“I love your cheeky tweets usually, but this is not good,” tweeted Shaheeda Abdul Kader. “Three newspapers all reported ‘all UAE schools to remain closed on Wednesday. Why are you confusing everybody?”
Sean de Noronha replied, “Alright so first you all say school is closed and now you say it’s up to your principal. Make your mind up.”
Desai Ashish tweeted, “It’s wrong for the MOE and newspapers to declare holidays for all schools while several schools are still silent 1.5 hours before school time. Why this chaotic suspense? Should we wake up the kids or wait for the principal to wake up and message.”
Most schools sent out text messages or circulars cancelling school the next day in response to the Ministry of Education tweet sent at 9.54pm that said, “due to fluctuations in weather and prevailing weather conditions, it was decided to disable all schools in Dubai and Northern Emirates on Wednesday.”
However, others like JSS International School in Dubai decided to stay open but then at 10.45am they sent a message to parents, who had dropped their kids off earlier on Wednesday morning, giving them just 45 minutes notice to come and collect their kids. “Dear Parents, due to the inclement weather, the school will close at 11:30am. Kindly arrange to receive your children accordingly. Children using own transport may be picked up at 11:30 a.m,” the JSS message to parents stated.
Shortly after the MOE’s tweet on Tuesday night, the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) also sent a message to schools that they were suspending class for all private schools in Sharjah on Wednesday. But in Dubai, there was no such clarity from the KHDA who oversee private school education in Dubai.
No official comment was forthcoming from the KHDA on Wednesday, but later tweets said the KHDA has a procedure in such conditions to allow principals to take the call on rain days.
The confusion arose when the Ministry of Education’s tweet said ‘all schools’, when KHDA regulate and stipulate for all private schools in Dubai. What added to the confusion was when the ministry retweeted the KHDA’s tweet.