In fact, even after the 10 extra days, schools in the UAE will remain closed for almost half the year (176 days), and the working days will amount to 189 days, notwithstanding any unforeseen holidays due to inclement weather or events that lead to traffic congestion in particular areas.
According to the new directive, 10 working days have been added to the annual calendar of all public and private UAE schools (barring Indian and Pakistani schools) in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Northern Emirates, which will bring the total number of school days from 49 per cent to 51.8 per cent of the year.
A majority of UAE parents, however, see that as not having much of an effect on the overall academic quality offered to their children.
A poll run by Emirates 24|7 reveals that a majority of parents in the UAE (41 per cent) believe that an extra 10 days in the academic calendar really don't make much of a difference for the simple reason that there are far too many holidays that dot the annual school calendar year in the country.
Another 25 per cent of respondents say they are not sure whether the extra days will bring positive academic benefits but, at the same time, 20 per cent of residents see children getting extra tuition due to the increased number of school days.
A minority (14 per cent) of parents, however, believe that this move will eat into family time, something that children need during their formative years.
The summer holidays in UAE schools stretch for 10 long weeks over the hottest months of July and August.
To deal with this long school gap, many kids return to their home countries for extended holidays. Some, on the other hand, complain about having to pay additional money to enrol their wards in summer camps, to keep the little minds occupied.
Then there are winter and spring breaks in April and December. Schools are also closed for at least a week twice a year for Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha, in addition to the random days given off when it rains or during certain events that lead to potential traffic congestion in the city, adding to the number of days away from school.
It's relatively simpler and easier, if, between the couple, one is a stay-at-home parent but problems mount in terms of childcare when both parents are working.
Many families rely on housemaids to take care of their children because there are just too many holidays.
"I can manage on my own during school days but it's the holidays that are the problems. We don't have extended family here and I have to rely on a housemaid to take care of my child when he's off school and is at home," Anita Singh, an Indian resident in Dubai told this website.
Many residents also fret that they fly in a grandparent from their home country to be with the children during school holidays. "But there are just too many holidays and everybody has a life and you cannot ask for help all the time," she added.
According to the new directive, the next school session will start on August 31, 2014, and end on June 25, 2015. All school administrators and teachers will begin work from August 24, 2014 until July 9, 2015.
The decision to add 10 extra days to the next academic year is in line with international standards. This has been achieved by deducting 10 days from the first semester break in December.
The first school break will be from December 21, 2014 until January 1, 2015. The second break will be from March 29, 2015 to April 9, 2015.
The total number of school days will be 74 in the first term, 60 in the second and 55 in the final term, totally the school days to 189.
© Emirates 24|7 2014
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