UAE: Watch out for 'summer learning loss' during holidays, students told

July 1 is the last working day for many schools before summer vacations begin


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 30 Jun 2022, 4:45 PM

School heads in the UAE are advising students not to slip into “summer regression” as students gear up for a two-month long summer break starting next week.

Principals explain while recharging one’s batteries is imperative, spending the entire stretch of two months relaxing could put students at a disadvantage leading to 'summer slide' or 'summer learning loss' when they return to school in September.

These declines are sharper for subjects like math than for reading, and the extent of loss is usually greater at higher grade levels.

Rob Commons, Principal, Uptown International School, Dubai says, “Students in younger years have been given light activities to complete in their core subjects (Maths, English, Science, Arabic and Islamic), to keep their minds working and to ensure they don’t experience ‘summer regression', and are ready to start next year on at least the same level that they ended this one. Our Grade 11 students have been provided with tasks related to their IB Diploma subjects, and especially their Extended Essay of 4,000 words. In addition, these students will continue to work on their Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) projects. Students in Grade 9 are expected to undertake research relevant to their Personal Project task.”

Simultaneously, schools heads reiterate summer is a chance for everyone to be intentional about finding time to relax, while working on one’s hobbies and bonding with their loved ones.

He adds, “For the most part, students have been encouraged to read, travel, and explore during their summer break. It’s important they take the chance to relax, spend time with their families, and generally recharge their batteries, ready to start another busy year at the end of August. Learning opportunities exist around every corner, and so it doesn’t have to be working from a textbook or at a laptop to ensure students’ brains stay active.”

Leigh Girven, Principal, Greenfield International School says, “It is our hope that students use the summer break to be ‘balanced’ IB learners, re-connect with loved ones, enjoy their passions and recharge for what we hope will be a return to ‘normal’ school life next year."

Principals acknowledge that it has been a long and challenging year for students – with many Covid restrictions still in place.

Therefore, staff, student, and community well-being has been a focus for everyone this year, and will continue to be a huge motivator next year as well.

“As we continue to raise our academic performance, we know that many students, particularly our Grade 11 students who will sit their IB Diploma examinations next year, will take this opportunity to revise material cover this year," says Girven.

“Some of our younger students will have been given more targeted material to support their own individual needs. Regardless of age or ability the summer is always a great time for students to read as much as possible and to take advantage of the travel opportunities they may have to experience new cultures and to develop their global perspective and understanding,” Girven added.

Transition from one year group to another

Some schools are already introducing students to their new classes for the next academic year.

Education professionals aver a smooth transition from one year group to another is extremely important to ensure children have the very best start to a new academic year.

Nav Iqbal, Principal/CEO, GEMS Metropole School – Motor City, opines, “The end of the academic year also sees us implement our robust transition process, enabling us to introduce students to their new year groups and teachers, and, in some cases, they even begin next year’s topics early, allowing them time to adjust to the upcoming curriculum.”

Institutions also prepare to receive their new enrolments over the summer holidays.

Iqbal adds, “We are now looking forward to the next academic year and preparing to welcome both new students and existing students back to school at the end of August. This will involve inducting parents over the summer break as well as meeting many new students. We are now able to take parts from online learning and use technology to aid learning and enhance ease of access and convenience. For example, meetings are now done blended – online and in person – which has led to a higher rate of participation for parents and other stakeholders.”

Sangita Chima, Principal, Amity School Dubai, says, "As majority of our students will be travelling this summer, teachers have developed a range of fun and interactive projects for children to enjoy. We will come back stronger and even more resilient; plans are already underway to ensure that we implement and create even further advanced learning opportunities for students when they are back.”


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