New UAE weekend: Some schools may increase weekday timings

Along with the rest of the country, schools too will transition into a four-and-a-half-day workweek



Photo: File
Photo: File
by

Sahim Salim

Published: Thu 9 Dec 2021, 3:57 PM

Last updated: Thu 9 Dec 2021, 4:13 PM

Most schools across the UAE have shut for the winter break. When they reopen next year, students will follow a new academic week that will see them have classes on Fridays.

Along with the rest of the country, schools too will transition into a four-and-a-half-day workweek, with Saturday, Sunday and Friday half-day forming the new weekend.

Education regulators have directed schools to ensure that classes get over by 12pm on Fridays.

For schools, this means that the academic week has been shortened by half a day.

Some schools are planning to increase school days to make up for this.

Ghadeer Abu-Shamat, superintendent/CEO, Al Khaleej International School, and vice-president - Education, Gems Education. Photo: Supplied
Ghadeer Abu-Shamat, superintendent/CEO, Al Khaleej International School, and vice-president - Education, Gems Education. Photo: Supplied

Ghadeer Abu-Shamat, superintendent/CEO, Al Khaleej International School, and vice-president - Education, Gems Education, said: "We will be increasing the school timing from Monday to Thursday to compensate for the short day on Friday. And this will give the school an extra two lessons.”

This increase will help the school “have an efficient timetable to strike a balance between academic and personal development and wellbeing”, she added.

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Campbell Douglas, principal/CEO, Gems Wellington Academy - Al Khail. Photo: Supplied
Campbell Douglas, principal/CEO, Gems Wellington Academy - Al Khail. Photo: Supplied

Campbell Douglas, principal/CEO, Gems Wellington Academy - Al Khail, does not expect much of an impact.

“The new structure means that we only lose an hour of school time compared to our current situation. We will find this time from other areas of the school that do not include curriculum time, and this will certainly not affect our syllabus completion pace.

“By adjusting lunch and break times, and looking at how the pastoral and curriculum enrichment areas are structured, we can easily claw back this hour so as not to affect our curriculum offering,” he said.

Challenge for working parents

It’s not immediately clear if all private sector employees will move to the new workweek along with their counterparts in government departments.

If they don’t, families with both parents working will need to make arrangements to accommodate the changes.

Soraya Beheshti, regional director at Crimson Education, MENAT region. Photo: Supplied
Soraya Beheshti, regional director at Crimson Education, MENAT region. Photo: Supplied

Soraya Beheshti, regional director at Crimson Education, MENAT region, said, “An immediate concern for many parents could be having young children off from school for a full day while both parents are working. For parents without childcare support, this could be challenging.

“The primary issue I could see arising would be if the student and parent have different working weeks.”

She, however, said that the new work structure could boost the students’ productivity. “Certainly, more free time would ensure students can keep up with other pursuits outside of the classroom.”


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