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Confusion continues over unified academic calendar in UAE

Dubai: Confusion over the academic calendar of private schools continues as many parents are still awaiting letters from schools for exam and holiday dates as the Ministry of Education insists no schools will get any leeway.

While schools in Dubai have been given leeway by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) to follow their respective calendars, the Ministry of Education insists no school will be exempted from the unified calendar and the new rules will be implemented fully in all schools and universities across the country.

"The unified calendar will be implemented because it is meant to protect the strong bonds of the families and make life easier for people living in the UAE, including Emiratis as well as expatriates," said Humaid Obaid Al Qutami, Minister of Education, speaking to Gulf News.

Fully achieved

He said: "When deciding the calendar we were aware of the difficulties faced by many schools and universities who are linked to foreign educational systems and we see no harm in the schools having links to foreign systems. But we don't see this has anything to do with the unification of the holidays and breaks."

Adding that the ministry is ready to help and is willing to be flexible on minor issues, he said: "The Ministry of Higher Education and Research as well as Ministry of Education were entrusted by the leadership of the country to implement the goals of unification and it will be achieved fully from the coming academic year all over the country."

Citing the Abu Dhabi Educational Council he insisted that with 183 schools in Abu Dhabi, Adec has been able to implement the calendar without any problem and "we see no problem in its implementation in other parts of the country".

Meanwhile, KHDA on Wednesday said it would stick to its decision announced on Sunday. Gulf News had quoted KHDA's chief of Regulation and Compliance on Sunday as saying the authority would exempt private schools from the unified calendar on a case by case basis, provided the schools complied with the number of school days and school hours approved by the authority.

No information

Following the announcement, approved schools in Dubai have started to send their dates for exams and holidays to parents.

However, the situation is not the same in Sharjah and other emirates.

Speaking to Gulf News many parents whose children study at international curriculum schools said that normally by this time of year they receive dates from schools, but this year there has been no communication in this regard so far.

"I have four children going to two different schools, one follows the Indian curriculum and the other UK curriculum. I have received the circular from the Indian school but so far there is no communication from the other school. Normally they send it by late April or early May but so far we haven't received it, we are waiting for it to plan our holidays," said Mohammad Salah.

Another parent whose two children attend Al Ansar International School said though end of term exams were approaching, he was still waiting.

"I have been waiting for the holiday dates from the school as I need to book my tickets for the vacation and without the dates it is difficult, the longer I will wait the costlier it will be for me," he said.

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