New UAE workweek: Some schools eye longer days, shorter break times in 2022

From January, schools across the UAE will follow the four-and-a-half-day work week


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 15 Dec 2021, 5:15 PM

Some UAE schools may adopt longer days or shorter break times to accommodate the new workweek in 2022.

From January, schools across the UAE will follow the four-and-a-half-day work week. For most schools, extracurricular activities will remain as is, with no radical changes to the timetables.

Campbell Douglas, principal/CEO at GEMS Wellington Academy - Al Khail, said: "The reality for our school is that it is not half-a-day’s learning loss, because of the way our week was already structured, we only needed to find an extra hour to ensure our learning week remains the same."

The school achieved this by shortening the break time on Friday and adjusting enrichment curriculum timings to ensure the core curriculum remains unaffected.

"Our start and finish times, extracurricular offering and break times from Monday to Thursday will all continue as is," Douglas said.

Several schools have said they will not hold an Saturday classes, as they have been able to integrate lessons into the new working week.

Dr Joseph Kotarski, superintendent, Dubai Schools, said: "Traditionally, many private schools in the UAE already were having a shortened day on Thursday and so making the shift to Monday through Friday is actually not posing a significant challenge in terms of making up learning loss.

"We are losing really an hour to an hour-and-a-half of instructional time because of the change. We were able to consolidate the class timings on Friday to still work within offering the required hours of our curriculum.”

Though classes will not be offered on Saturday, he said students can access online educational learning platforms in case they need support.

Naveed Iqbal, principal/CEO at GEMS Metropole School - Motor City, said the administration has not extended the school timings.

"We will continue to finish at 3.05pm from Monday to Thursday and at 12pm on Friday," he said. "What we've done is we have moved our activity clubs, which were previously built into the school day, to after school. We will have club buses for any bus student who wishes to participate. Slight adjustments to lunch and break times have also helped to claw back the other hours.”


Iqbal added that the school would encourage students to use their half-day judiciously by volunteering, taking up projects that can develop their skills or spending quality time with family.

Principals at schools following the Indian curriculum said they a lot of syllabi to cover, but special classes will enable them to compensate for the shorter workweek.

Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO/principal of Credence High School, said: “Our lesson schedule is going to be the same. At Credence High School, we have special twice a week boarding classes. During these days, we conduct co-scholastic classes for grades 4 to 8 and grades 9 to12.

These sessions will continue like before. We have decided to continue all activities as they were before, including the extracurricular activities. The wellness and safety protocols for students as well as the staff members are given top priority at Credence High School.”

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