By Courtney Trenwith
Ministry of Education says cutting Christmas break to two weeks will bring UAE in line with international standards
Ten days have been added to the UAE school calendar for 2014-15, in what the Ministry of Education said would bring the country into line with international standards.
The major change is a reduction in the December-January break, when many expatriate families return home for Christmas. It has been cut from three to two weeks.
The next academic year will be from August 31, 2014 to June 25, 2015.
The first term will include 74 teaching days, with 60 in the second term and 55 in the third term, to total 189 days.
Teachers and staff will be required to work between August 24, 2014 and July 9, 2015, although private schools with a foreign curriculum can adjust their calendars by up to one week.
Holidays will be between December 21-January 1 and March 29-April 9.
UAE Ministry of Education under-secretary Marwan Al Sawaleh said the decision to increase the number of teaching days would bring the country into line with international standards. He did not clarify where the additional five days had been added to the calendar.
“Between 185 and 190 is the average number of studying days [internationally],” Al Sawaleh said.
The change also will endure the education calendar does not conflict with Ramadan, which is next year is expected to begin in July.
The changes apply to all public and private primary and secondary schools (except those with Indian and Pakistani curriculums), adult education centres and Applied Technology High Schools.
When is the MOE going to send out the official circular to ALL British, American, IB schools in the country about the minimum starting age of 3 years and 8 months (4 by Dec 31st latest) for kids joining school (KG 1) this coming calendar year ( Sept 2014-15). Keep hearing the same and reading in newspapers but schools have no official communication! CAUSING SO MUCH CONFUSION....
Why not reduce daily working hours as well to international standards of 7 hours? Cutting out on a religious Christmas break to allow for long summer holidays is not attractive to expatriates.
These standards do not apply for all schools. The Arabic learning is compulsory for Indian curriculum schools, whereas Choueifat like schools for e.g. DO NOT have compulsory learning Arabic despite being Lebanese [Arabic country] or whatever boards. Why is this easy going for such high end schools, and why poor non Arabic speakers have to Indian and other schools?
Can the Ministry clarify these?
Secondly in the event of rains or some dignitary coming down or at the throw of a stone, schools are given holidays. For Eid and National Days they get additional holidays....... Reduce these holidays and extend the Christmas holidays which will help parents also to relax instead of starting from 2nd January.
@ shanti, obviously you are aware of the proverb, teaching the fish how to swim. Arabic being a prime language of Lebanon, every kid knows Arabic(speak and write) like the back of his hands. which is the not the case with people from your country. Bias,prejudice and hatred stops people from learning about other cultures and languages. Free up your mind and learn. It is never too late to learn.
Arabic is the 5th most commonly spoken native language in the world. Arabic is the official language of over 20 countries with over 300 million native speakers of the language. It is an official language of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the African Union. Arabic influence is evident in many other languages. The export of concepts, products, and cultural practices from Arabic-speaking peoples is evident in the vocabulary that Arabic has lent other languages like English, Persian, Turkish, Kurdish, Spanish, Swahili, Urdu, Tigrinya.
Reducing holidays so that teachers work the same days as other schools in the world makes sense. However most teachers in the UAE work about 3 hours extra per day. So even before the changes, teachers worked more. So we are equal in days and work longer hours, and have to work on days which might be a religious holiday to us (for example this Easter Sunday) ... We are expected in work.
So longer hours, extra weeks equals extra pay? ... Nope think again. Many expats are also in the middle of contracts which initially stated hours expected in and weeks off....these will be honored.....think again.
you will find that most teachers in the UK work long extra hours weekdays and weekends to comply with requirements. Not saying this justifies anything, only that it is not limited to this part of the world.