Private school pupils in Dubai will enjoy a full week off for Eid Al Fitr, the festival marking the end of Ramadan.
Education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), announced the decision on Tuesday.
It means pupils will be off from Monday, May 2 to Friday, May 6, returning on Monday, May 9.
The move puts Dubai schools in line with most government and public sector workers, who have a nine-day holiday, including the weekends. Authorities in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah are yet to confirm dates for private schools.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said private sector employees are entitled to Saturday, April 30 until Shawwal 3 in the Islamic calendar.
This means the holiday will be from Saturday, April 30, and last until Tuesday, May 3 or Wednesday, May 4, depending on the start date of Eid and the sighting of the new moon.
It is up to private sector employers to decide if they wish to be closed for the remainder of the week, on Thursday and Friday, which some are expected to.
Rashmi Nandkeolyar, principal at Delhi Private School Dubai, said: “We are very excited. This is like a breath of calm after the storm of the pandemic.
“The excitement is that we finally get to have a break and with a new term for all of us, there is a sense of excitement in the air.
“But many of our pupils have board exams on, so many of us will be working through part of the break.”
Indian curriculum CBSE exams started on Tuesday and close to 600 pupils will be sitting them at the school. Ms Nandkeolyar said some pupils may travel home for the break, but others may choose to stay in the UAE and enjoy the Eid celebrations here.
Companies opt to extend Eid break
Xylem, a global water technology company, decided to give its just over 100 employees in the UAE the entire week off for Eid.
Jennifer Gillespie, its director of human resources for Middle East and Turkey, said: “We were just sitting in a leadership team meeting today and as we discussed it my children’s school Whatsapp messages started pinging to inform me that Dubai’s private schools had announced the week off. It aligned nicely but it did not form part of our decision making.”
“If a leave falls on a weekend, we carry it forward in to the week so that was carried to Thursday. We all tend to work from home on a Friday so we decided that we would just give the full week off.
“It’s the end of Ramadan and people are super-tired. We recognise that and we just want people to have a good break with their families. Many of the team have already booked holidays.”
While the extra day off on Thursday is a token of appreciation from the organisation, the day off on Friday will be deducted from employee’s leave balance, she said.