x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Textbook beginning to new school term

Government schools report smooth starts and high turnouts.

Grade 1 students attend an Arabic class at the Indian International High School in Dubai.
Grade 1 students attend an Arabic class at the Indian International High School in Dubai.

The textbooks were out and the worksheets distributed for a full day of studies as government schools recorded a high turnout on the first day of term yesterday.

Most schools reported a smooth start with fewer than five per cent of children failing to show for classes.

In Abu Dhabi, more than 126,000 pupils went back to their academic routine. But there was a little more commotion at four new state schools that opened yesterday, as pupils became acquainted with their new environment, new teachers and new friends.

"The move was hectic but it went really smooth," said Samira Al Nuaimi, the vice principal of Mubarak bin Mohammed School in Al Bateen, which is based on Adec's New School Model.

"We started work weeks before they could come in today and everything was according to plan."

One of Adec's mixed-gender Cycle 1 (Grades 1-5) schools, it has 700 pupils.

As for the other three new state schools, Al Khatim Girls School teaches 600 pupils from kindergarten to Grade 12, Al Jahili School in Al Ain is a high school with 50 classrooms for 1,500 pupils and Mariam bint Sultan School - also a high school - can accommodate 1,200 girls.

Across the country, principals reported better than usual attendance for the first day of school yesterday. State schools suffer from high absenteeism, which authorities are trying to tackle through stringent regulations.

Mona Mohammed Al Jaziri, the principal of Ahmed bin Majid Elementary School in Ras Al Khaimah, said only four of her 155 pupils had failed to show.

"They have started studying as well," she said. "We gave out all the textbooks for the new term and conducted some lesson revision activities."

Shaikha Al Zaabi, the principal of Palestine Secondary Public School in the capital, put the strong numbers down to better communication with parents.

"It is necessary that they understand the importance of the first day," she said.

Ayesha Al Lootah, the principal of Al Ibdaa School in Dubai, was glad there had been no hitches.

"We tried completing all the maintenance and electrical work during the holidays," she said.