New UAE weekend: Dubai schools must close before 12pm on Fridays

Schools and universities across the country will follow the new work week


Sahim Salim

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Published: Wed 8 Dec 2021, 3:21 PM

Last updated: Thu 9 Dec 2021, 2:42 PM

Dubai’s education regulator has sent a circular to school principals, notifying them about the change in the UAE's work week and weekends, starting from January 1, 2022.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) circular notifies educators about the UAE’s adoption of a four-and-half-day work week, with Saturday, Sunday and Friday half-day forming the new weekend.

Accordingly, private schools in Dubai will begin the week on Mondays. Classes on Fridays should not go beyond 12pm.

Since Friday sermons and prayers will be hosted after 1.15pm on Fridays, Muslims students will be able to attend the congregational prayer after school. They will enjoy the rest of the day off, along with Saturday and Sunday.

On Tuesday, the KHDA had tweeted: “The private education sector in Dubai will be open in line with the recent UAE Government decision on the working week. We'll be working closely with our community to ensure a smooth transition.”


Schools and universities across the country will follow the new work week, too. The UAE’s Ministry of Education will announce the new school timings.

Schools have communicated to parents about the changes as well.

In a circular to parents, one school said: “The school will follow all directives from the government regarding the new weekend schedule. Detailed circular regarding these changes will be issued once we receive the details from the authorities.”

School managements have conveyed to parents that they are awaiting further instructions from regulators about timings that would be followed through the week.

“The school will re-open as per the new directives declared by the UAE government,” the circular read.

A circular from another school said: “We will be working very closely with the community to ensure a smooth transition.”

In general, schools have been supportive of the changes in the work week.

Ruth Burke, Principal/CEO, of Swiss International Scientific School Dubai, said: “This is great news for students, families and staff across the UAE education sector. As a nation that wholeheartedly champions well-being, family values and work-life balance, these new changes will further support the UAE in truly embodying these values.

“Additionally, at SISD we are raising our students to be global citizens, and to be part of a global workforce - these changes will further align the UAE with the wider world workforce.”

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