x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Eid Al Adha break for schools won't be extended, says Ministry

The Ministry of Education has blasted schools that told parents they could take the week off for Eid Al Adha, saying everyone must now be back in class by Wednesday.

ABU DHABI // Schools that announced they would be taking a week off over Eid Al Adha have been sternly reprimanded by the Ministry of Education for making holiday plans without their permission.

Both public and private schools need to resume classes on Wednesday, November 9, after the three-day Eid holidays announced by the Government yesterday.

Ali Mihad Al Suwaidi, director general of the Ministry of Education, said the three-day break could not be stretched.

"Schools that have told parents it will be a week-long Eid break must reverse this decision," he said. "They should have waited for an official notification on the duration of the holidays from the ministry."

Any proposed holiday must be approved by the ministry before circulars are sent out to parents, according to Mr Al Suwaidi. He said the ministry wants to curb the "culture of unnecessary holidays" that was eating into the number of teaching days at schools.

"This may cause some discontent among parents but we want them to understand that pupils need to be in schools studying and they already have enough holiday time during the year."

At public schools, the first term includes only 67 days. "When there are so many days off, then at the end there is no school year, only holidays, and children are constantly absent."

Some schools sent circulars to parents a few weeks ago, stating the date of return as November 13. Others said the week-long holiday included their midsemester break, which was preapproved before the start of the academic year.

The ministry said preapproved calendars need not be altered.

Authorities have asked schools to adhere to the government decision and follow the guidelines sent to them yesterday and today.

aahmed@thenational.ae