Dubai education chiefs to mull later start for schools

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

The Dubai education authority is considering pushing back the start time for schools following a suggestion from the police traffic chief.

Lt Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafeen sparked debate this week when he used social media site Twitter to ask the community for its views on starting school later to help ease the emirate’s growing traffic congestion problem.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority told Arabian Business on Thursday it would consult stakeholders to canvass their opinions before making a decision.

“KHDA will be reviewing the suggestion to start schools later,” Mohammed Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Compliance Commission at KHDA, said.

“We will be conducting surveys with our stakeholders to determine whether this is a viable option for schools, pupils and parents.”

The idea has so far attracted mixed responses from parents and teachers.

Some were concerned that children would not be as attentive in the afternoons, particularly when it was hot, while others did not believe removing parents and teachers from the roads in the morning would have a significant impact on traffic.

Dubai schools generally start at 8am and finish at 2pm.

Al Ain moved its school start time to 9am at the end of last year following a six-month trial.

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Posted by: Ron Bagnulo

The earlier the better. Though chaotic, there is less traffic on the roads at 6:30-7:30am. If schools open at a latter time roads will be doubly clogged with school traffic and people going to work.

Posted by: Rafi

We will have mixed opinion here just because we have two kinds of parents here. We have normal families where at least one of the parents are available at home to take care of their children, and families where 'parenting' is done by maids or some one else.

Ideally, we should have both options. Schools where there are many divisions can start some divisions early based on parents choice. Just that early timing is helping where both parents are working and no one to look after the kids after they go for work, it's also affecting lot of families as they have to get up so early to prepare and send kids to school.

Let us have some batches starting at 8 am and some batches at 10 am. This will help everyone and also reduce the traffic issues.

Posted by: kishore

I think it will be a good move. Schools definately need to start later in the day. My child wakes at 5.30 and his bus comes at 6.15 for the school which starts at 7.45

Just because of the traffic the child suffers getting up early. Also since all the busses and classes are airconditioned. It doesnt make much of a difference. I even think the school should start at 11

Posted by: Bre

Parents, I dont think moving the school timing from 8am to 9am will make such a huge difference to the children, but to traffic it will help tremendously.

Traffic is a nightmare due to school buses; parents dropping their kids off in the morning etc. An hour later will help ease traffic and will not significantly impact the school going children negatively. So yes KHDA please change the timings, or at least do a trial run to see how it goes, like they did in Al-Ain.

Besides the kids can sleep in an extra hour, which I?m sure they need.

Posted by: Abraham

The present timing is very ideal as the working parents can drop their children and after they can proceed to their work. Also atleast the children have enough time to play, homework and study after they arrived from the school.

Posted by: Ayub

This is a welcome suggestion, as this will save thousands of office goers a lot of time during the morning rush hour. This is clearly evident from the lack of traffic during the school vacation period.

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