Mixed reaction to schools starting on time

DUBAI — Even as several parents and students heaved a sigh of relief on Monday following the Ministry of Education's announcement that schools would reopen as scheduled, some school managements expressed disappointment over the decision.

By Preeti Kannan & Ahmed Shaaban

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Published: Wed 6 Aug 2008, 1:57 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Apr 2015, 1:25 PM

A school principal, who preferred anonymity, said the ministry could have considered at least a week's delay in the new academic year.

"That would help not only students and parents, but also administrative and teaching staff to get used to the new mode," she said. "This is not a call for laziness. It is only a matter of being somehow tolerant in this scorching summer, particularly after a long holiday," she added.

Anisha Jayakumar, Grade XII student, also felt the vacation should have been extended. She said, "Students who fast would find it really difficult to cope up with the studies during this time. There are a lot of teachers in my school who fast. It will be very difficult for them as well to bear the heat and teach. But now since the decision has been taken, we can't do anything about it."

Daniel R, student of an international school, welcomed the ministry's announcement and said, "It is good that the ministry has carefully considered the effects it could have on academics before arriving at the decision. Besides, everybody's on holiday and they would have been upset if they had come back to find out schools are closed for an extra month."

Umm Mazin, mother of a student of American International School, noted that any delay would have upset academic schedules.

"If there was a postponement, schools would have found it hard to finish their syllabus on time. Children are used to fasting during Ramadan and schools work for shorter hours during that time. So it wouldn't make any difference," she added.

Marlon Fernando, father of a student of Westminster School, felt that the decision would not cause any confusion among families, who have already planned their vacation.

He added, "Everyone's accustomed to the September to June system in the Gulf for the last many years and it would not be right to upset it."

Muna Abdullah, Principal of Dubai-based Model Values School, said she was not in favour of postponing the new academic year. Any delay, she believed, would have made no difference.

"On the contrary, it would have led to a big chaos in the ministry plan, schedules, curriculum, and examinations," she said, adding that students should not waste their time and have meals early to have enough sleep.

Gems group observed that no additional closures would ensure that the school calendar continued as planned, while the Taaleem schools said since Ramadan was a great opportunity to share the rich tapestry of the local culture with students from around the world and the government's decision was in line with this.

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