UAE Ministry adds 10 more days to next school year
The next academic year will be 10 days longer, the Ministry of Education announced on Monday. The new calendar applies to all public and private primary and secondary schools – except for those with Indian and Pakistani curriculums – adult education centres and Applied Technology High Schools in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
It is designed to bring the country’s educational year in line with international standards.
“This is a ministry decree. We issue this decree every year,” said Marwan Al Sawaleh, under secretary of the ministry.
“The only change is now the government schools will get a two-week break in December instead of three. We are trying to raise the number of study days in the UAE.”
Mr Al Sawaleh said the dates had been agreed on by the Abu Dhabi Education Council and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai.
The ministry decree, approved on Monday, calls on all school administrators and teachers to be in school from August 24 to July 9.
But education councils and zones are allowed to adjust the schedule of teachers and staff at private schools that use a foreign curriculum.
Those schools will be allowed to begin term for staff before August 24 or finish after July 9, by a maximum of one week.
“We recognise that some schools like to have their staff begin earlier for training or preparation, so we have given them that flexibility,” said Mr Al Sawaleh.
Students will have to return to classes from August 31 until June 25.
According to Adec’s calendar for the 2013/2014 school year, pupils started school on September 8, and staff on September 1.
This year, holidays for staff and students will run from December 21 to January 1. The second-term holiday will begin on March 29 and end on April 9.
This brings the total number of school days to 74 in the first term, 60 in the second and 55 days in the final term, for a total of 189 school days.
The move to extend the number of school days is meant to bring the education calendar in the country more in line with international standards.
“Between 185 and 190 is the average number of studying days,” Mr Al Sawaleh said, referring to the recommendations made by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The change is also being made to reduce conflict with Ramadan, which is expected next year to begin in July.
The head of faculty at Mzyed School in Al Ain said the date change made sense, even if it meant losing a week’s vacation in December.
“If you don’t shift the calendar you will lose instructional time,” she said, adding it was wiser to increase such time in December than in the hot summer months.
Under the decree, the ministry will issue administrative decisions regulating exams for public schools and private schools that use its curriculums, adult education centres and home schools.
Private schools with foreign curriculums will be allowed to set their own exam schedules, said Mr Al Sawaleh.
“They are allowed to schedule exams according to their international standards,” he said.
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