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Fri 12 Dec 2008 12:36 PM

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Bahrain pupils boycott return to schools

Students organise email campaign to protest over call to return for one day from holidays.

Students in Bahrain boycotted school on Thursday after conducting an online campaign to gather support for the action, it has been claimed.

Pupils across the Gulf state were due back in the classroom for one day before the weekend following a six-day break but a large majority reported decided to stay away.

Some schools reported absentee levels of up to 90 per cent, while teachers accused pupils or not taking their education seriously enough, Gulf Daily News reported on Friday.

Schools broke up on December 4 for a six-day break that included last weekend, a day off on Sunday for Arafat and a three-day Eid holiday from Monday to Wednesday.

Pupils should have returned yesterday for a day before taking another two days off for the weekend.

However, many failed to show after an online campaign was waged against turning up for just one day.

Government schools contacted by the paper on Thursday confirmed an overwhelming majority of their pupils were absent despite schools sending out text messages the day before reminding parents their children should have been at school.

Muharraq Secondary Boys School principal Khalil Shkoori said: "Apparently the students used online forums and chat sites, urging each other to not attend on Thursday."

Muharraq Technical Secondary Boys School principal Eman Khalifa al-Zayani said students picking and choosing their holidays undermined the entire education system.

"This upsets the teachers and causes the loss of important school days, which in turn affects education in general and the quality that the education reform programme aims for," she told the paper.

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