x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Dubai regulator flexible on school calendar

Dubai schools that do not follow the national curriculum may now set their own academic calendars.

DUBAI // Schools that do not follow the national curriculum will be given flexibility to set their own academic calendars.

This exception comes after the Ministry of Education ordered all public and private schools and universities in the country to align their term dates last month.

Dubai has schools following 13 curricula and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) that regulates private schools in Dubai will take their schedules into consideration.

"A one-size-fits-all motto for an educational landscape as unique as Dubai's is not an ideal situation," said Mohammed Darwish, chief of KHDA's regulations and compliance commission. "KHDA chooses to offer schools a certain amount of leeway as it understands the needs of the school, student and parent community and the requirements of running a private school in Dubai."

The ministry had exempted Asian schools from following a standardised calendar because of their separate academic year, but other international schools were asked to modify their timetable to that of state schools.

School operators had raised concerns that the new timetable clashed with their examination schedules and other school operations. Teachers and families said it would disrupt holiday plans.

Mr Darwish said most school calendars that start their academic year in September were approved in January and operators could stick to them.

"KHDA has approved these calendars in line with the minimum number of school days and minimum school hours as stipulated in the regulations."

Private schools following the national curriculum will have to follow the Ministry of Education timetable, which calls for pupils to start the academic year on September 9.

The first holiday is to be from December 16 to January 3. Holidays after the second term are to be from March 31 to April 14. Summer holidays are to begin on July 7, 2013.