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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Parents warned as children skip school during Ramadan

The Ministry of Education is asking parents to ensure their children are not absent from school, particularly in the last days of the semester

Educators say motivating pupils and giving them small breaks helps to boost attendance.. Pawan Singh / The National
Educators say motivating pupils and giving them small breaks helps to boost attendance.. Pawan Singh / The National

The Ministry of Education has called on parents to ensure their children continue to attend school during Ramadan.

Seemingly, pupils have been taking advantage of the reduced hours during the holy month and the school year winding down to avoid attending classes.

Absence in some secondary schools is as high as 60 per cent, Emarat al Youm reported.

Schools are attempting to combat the issue of absenteeism through initiatives such as classes for low-achievers, TOEFL and ICDL courses, as well as enrichment classes in Arabic, mathematics and English.

This week, the ministry said parents and guardians should be keen on their children's future and encourage them to attend school, pursue education and study.

In a tweet, the ministry stressed the importance of pupils' commitment to school, particularly during the third and final semester when teachers are working to complete the syllabus.

Thousands of pupils across the country in Ministry of Education curriculum schools will sit their end-of-year exams during Ramadan. The last exams will be sat on June 27.

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Read more:

Ramadan public school timings announced for Dubai and Northern Emirates

Ramadan 2018: Abu Dhabi private school hours adjusted

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Hind K has a nine-year-old son who she struggles to get to school on time every morning during Ramadan.

"It's difficult for both of us as we sleep late during this month. We meet family in the evening and after getting home, making sure he changes, eats and gets to bed takes time. During the weekend he is used to waking up late at around noon,” said Hind, who lives in Abu Dhabi.

During the holy month, her son's school day begins at 8.15am instead of 7.45am. She said the change has made no difference. Hind said she thinks school should begin at 9am and end at the regular time instead.

The Moroccan expatriate, who is married to an Emirati, said part of the problem was that some people begin work later during Ramadan but still have to wake up early to get their children to school.

“Why don't they let school start at 9am?” she asked. “School ends at 1.45pm instead of 2.45pm and this is not necessary. In the morning, it would be helpful to have a rest. My son has too much time before iftar. He just plays games on his iPad and at that time I'm busy preparing iftar and can't control him."

Hind said that, though her son does not like to miss school, he does end up missing some days during Ramadan.

In an effort to keep children engaged, her son's school ensures that the pupils watch more movies during the holy month as well as taking part in more artistic activities.

Educators say motivating pupils and giving them small breaks helps to boost attendance.

"Attendance hasn't fallen at our school during Ramadan," said Lata Nakra, principal at JSS International School in Dubai.

"We have reduced hours during the holy month and we try to give pupils time to rest between classes. We have ensured there are breaks to help them through the school day. The pupils get a ten minute break around 9am and another twenty minute one around midday," said Ms Nakra.

"I find it surprising that, though physical education classes have been stopped during Ramadan, children do want to come out and play in the corridors. That's what they look forward to, even if they are fasting," she said.