UAE floods: Got exams this week? School heads offer 3 ways to manage traffic after heavy rains

Principals advise advanced school runs, alternate routes, and carpooling amid waterlogging


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Mon 22 Apr 2024, 7:11 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 Apr 2024, 7:31 PM

School principals in the UAE are suggesting that students scheduled to start their International Baccalaureate (IB) exams on Wednesday consider exploring alternative transportation routes, particularly for those impacted by significant waterlogging caused by the recent severe weather conditions.

Many schools in Dubai resumed on-site learning on Monday after heavy rainfall on April 16 damaged infrastructure and disrupted transportation services, compelling schools to switch to distance learning.

The IB exams are the culmination of 12 years of school, with the examination beginning on April 24, 2024 and ending on May 17, 2024. The results will be published on July 6, 2024.

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The curriculum is currently being taught to more than a million students across approximately 3,000 schools in 146 countries worldwide. In total there are 62 IB World Schools in the UAE.

Potential travel duration to centre

Addressing the difficulties presented by the recent weather conditions, school principals clarified that another way of preparation would be conducting advance school runs which would assist families in gauging the potential duration of their commute amidst traffic and waterlogged areas.

Lastly, car-pooling could be helpful to families whose vehicles were damaged in the rains.

Burcu Isik Kesser, Diploma Programme Coordinator at GEMS International School, Al Khail, said, “As a community we have been in close contact throughout the recent challenges brought about by the weather. Any students who live in areas that are still affected have been encouraged to try out their route to school the day before the exams begin to ensure they are confident about how long it will take. For those families whose cars were damaged, car-pooling is often a reliable alternative to public transport.”

Headteachers explained that there are strict exam regulations that all staff and students need to adhere to, and schools run training sessions for staff, students, and parents on the conduct of examinations.

Schools have several dedicated spaces for the exams to take place and these are strictly off-limits when no exams are in progress.

“We coordinate closely with the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) to create the exam schedule based on our time zone. Occasionally, conflicts with students’ choices emerge and we resolve these by rescheduling with the approval of the IBO,” he added.

Student well-being high on agenda

School heads highlighted that well-being is as important as being prepared academically. Institutions run sessions for students on how to manage stress, time, and how to prepare for an exam – even including ‘dos and don’ts’ for the last few minutes before an exam starts.

“These sessions include yoga, meditation, helping students to focus, and the value of quiet time in the final hour preceding an exam. All teachers run exam practice sessions with students, and these include subject-specific preparation as well as general study skills and revision tips and tricks," said Kesser.

"Students have access to approved online platforms, including past question papers, and are in touch with their teachers throughout the examination session,” he added.

In addition, all students take two sessions of trial exams – one in Grade 11 and one in Grade 12. “The trial exams in Grade 12 are designed to replicate the final exams as closely as possible so that students are calm and confident when the exams begin,” said Kesser.

Schools are implementing strict safety protocols and measures to ensure students can travel to their exam centres with confidence and peace of mind.

Karen Nyborg, Assistant Principal Secondary of Curriculum, Progress, and Assessment at GEMS World Academy, Dubai said, “As the examinations commence on April 24, we are mindful of the logistical challenges that students may face in reaching their exam centres. We have collaborated with transportation authorities and parents to ensure students have safe and reliable transportation options available to them.”

School heads reiterate that in addition to academic support, they recognise the importance of prioritising students’ mental health and well-being during this demanding period.

“To support academic readiness, we have organised rigorous revision sessions across all subjects. These sessions are tailored to the specific needs of each student and focus on reinforcing key concepts, practising exam techniques, and providing personalised feedback," said Nyborg.

"Our experienced teachers are dedicated to guiding students through their revision process and equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their exams. We have also implemented a series of wellness sessions and workshops that aim to equip students with coping strategies, stress management techniques, and mindfulness practices,” she added.


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