Abu Dhabi, UAE: Children will have an extra 14 days’ holiday in the next academic year, 2015-2016.
The federal Cabinet has approved a reduction in the number of schooldays from the current 189 to 175 for the next three academic years.
The 2015-2016 academic year is scheduled to begin on August 30. Staff will return to work one week earlier.
The winter holiday will be extended to three weeks, with two weeks for spring break.
Pupils will conclude their academic year on June 23, 2016, and staff on July 5.
The Cabinet said it was reviewing its policies on the number of schooldays to take into account the concerns of pupils and their families, while considering the education criteria.
The Government statement did not specify which schools would be affected and Ministry of Education officials were not available for comment.
Dr Abdur Rashid, principal at the Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistani School Dubai, said his staff should have few problems coping with the changes.
“It [winter holiday] is a matter of three weeks, I think it will hardly matter,” said Mr Rashid, who has been in the post for the past three years. “It will not affect that much, this is my opinion.
“If teachers are willing to fit in the curriculum, they can do it.”
Mr Rashid said the changes “could be a source of motivation for teachers”. He said because most of his teachers were from Pakistan, they could use the extra holiday to “go and be with their families”.
One parent of an eight-year-old girl who attends Brighton College in Abu Dhabi questioned whether extra-curricular activities would have to be cut to accommodate the shorter year.
“We’re always up for a break, but I don’t know if they can fit in the curriculum in those days,” she said. “It’s just a matter of will they be able to fit everything into a shorter period of time.”
The changes are a reversal of a Ministry of Education announcement this year that added an extra 10 days to the academic year.
The ministry said the change was designed to bring the educational year in line with international standards.
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