Dubai: Indian and Pakistani schools will not be affected by the unified holidays for schools recently announced by the Ministry of Education, said a senior official yesterday.
The schools from both countries will continue to follow the same calendar they have been following for years, with schools starting in April and ending in March the following year, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) clarified on Tuesday.
The clarification comes following the recent announcement of a unified academic calendar for all public and private schools by the Ministry of Education, which has been a cause of confusion both for parents as well as for schools.
"Indian and Pakistani schools begin their academic year at different times than other schools by virtue of being linked to their respective education boards. These schools follow a different schedule in terms of examinations, declaration of results, holidays and other aspects relevant to curriculum delivery," said Mohammad Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Compliance Commission at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
He added that Indian and Pakistani schools will continue to follow the same calendar with the schools opening on April 1 and the end of year exams scheduled to start on March 3, 2013.
The summer break is scheduled from July 1 to September 9, 2012, while the winter vacation is between December 23, 2012 and January 6, 2013.
Darwish explained that the decision was reached following consultations between different parties concerned, including schools.
"KHDA held a consultative session with some of these schools about two months ago and discussed the timing of these dates and holidays in line with their curriculum delivery and their respective education boards. A resulting communication was then sent to the schools confirming dates in line with this consultation. As these schools [and parents] have already planned their academic year in accordance with this consultation, the resultant KHDA communication sent to these schools as their key dates for the upcoming academic year is still valid."
The statement has cleared the confusion created by the ministry's announcement of a unified calendar as school administrators expressed their relief.
"Being in the country we have to respect the law of the country, but at the same time try to strike a balance with the parent board (Central Board of Secondary Education) that we are attached to, which follows April to March calendar. We are very happy that the KHDA has agreed to let us continue with the old calendar," said Ashok Kumar, CEO of the Indian High School Dubai.
Parents have also expressed their delight.
"It is a big relief to know that the dates are going to be more or less the same. I was a bit confused because the dates were announced after the academic year started in Indian schools and I was wondering how they were going to change. I'm happy now that we will be able continue with our plans," said Sanjana Sharma, whose two children go to different Indian schools.
However, confusion remains over the academic calendar for foreign universities which are attached to their parent campuses, as well as for Bangladeshi schools, which follow the January to December calendar. There are two Bangladeshi curriculum schools in the UAE, one in Ras Al Khaimah and another in Abu Dhabi. Both follow the January to December calendar.
"Though we are not much affected by the dates as the summer vacation in the UAE and Bangladesh fall at the same time, the calendar dates differ. For Grades 9 and 10 the final exams are in February, while for other classes the exams start in November. There is a bit of confusion over the unified calendar dates, but we are trying to get clarification from the concerned departments in the respective emirates," said Mohammad Abu Zafar, Consul General of Bangladesh.