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Ramadan 2023 UAE: Official dates and timings. How will school hours be affected? What does it mean for holidays?

When is Ramadan 2023 UAE? It’s now less than two months to go until the Holy Month, with Ramadan 2023 expected to commence on Thursday March 23, and run for 29 days until Friday April 21.

The Eid Al Fitr public holidays – which fall at the end of Ramadan – are predicted to run across a long weekend, from Thursday April 20 until Sunday April 23.

Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, moon sightings will be used to confirm these dates closer to the time. All dates are tentative until there is official confirmation.

What will Ramadan school timings be?

The length of the school day and working day (for both private and public sector workers) is usually reduced by two hours throughout the holy month.

However, this year the beginning of Ramadan coincides with the start of schools’ Spring Break, so the shortened hours will have less of an impact on lesson timetabling.

Just as Ramadan commences on Thursday 23 March, students immediately break up for the Spring vacation on Friday 24 March.

Students will then have either two weeks or three weeks off school for Spring Break, depending on their school’s individual calendar. Find out how to easily see your own school’s individual academic calendar online here.

This means that when school recommences after the Spring holiday on either Monday 10 April or Monday 17 April, there will be just 1 – 2 weeks left of reduced school hours for Ramadan before Eid Al Fitr on 20 April 2023. This lessens the impact that the shortened Ramadan hours could otherwise have on teaching time.


Nevertheless, parents are still likely to need to schedule for later drop-off and earlier pick-ups during this period.

School Ramadan timings for 2023 have not yet been confirmed, but it’s likely that they will follow the pattern that was set during Ramadan last year.

In 2022 the Dubai school regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), stated that Dubai’s private schools could have maximum of five hours of instruction time each day and that classes should end by 12pm on Fridays. There was flexibility for schools to decide the exact start and end time within these guidelines, with many institutions choosing to delay the school start time until around 8am or 9am and to bring the end time forward to around 1pm or 2pm.

In the past schools have traditionally cut their timings down from being open seven hours per day to five hours per day during Ramadan, but the half-day on Friday due to the UAE’s 4.5-day working week meant that in 2022 the school “day” became just around three hours on a Friday.

In 2022 the KHDA also advised schools to limit the amount of homework and revision during Ramadan, calling on schools to ensure teachers, students and parents get to spend more time in prayer and with their families.

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and for Muslims it is a time dedicated to quiet reflection, prayer, spending time with family and doing charitable works to help those in need. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast – meaning that they do not eat or drink anything at all – during daylight hours. In 2023 daylight fasting hours will be for 13 hours and 30 minutes at the beginning of Ramadan, extending to 14 hours and 14 minutes by the end of the Holy Month.

Children are not expected to fast until they reach puberty, usually around the age of 14, although some may choose to do so earlier.

The date of Ramadan shifts by 10-12 days each year, and it takes around 33 years for the period of Ramadan to complete a full cycle of the Gregorian calendar. This year is the first time Ramadan has fallen in Springtime in the UAE for well over a decade.

What Ramadan means in UAE schools

One change that all parents will notice is the reduction in school hours during Ramadan. Many Muslim staff members and children fast during the day – getting up very early or staying up late to eat in hours of darkness – and the shortened hours are set to help accommodate this fact.

Although non-Muslims are not expected to fast and restaurants remain open, eating and drinking in public is forbidden during Ramadan (exceptions may be made for young children and babies). It is also recommended that both women and men make an extra effort to ensure they dress in a way that is respectful of the UAE’s cultural values during this time.

While lessons continue throughout the Holy Month, in 2022 the KHDA advised schools to limit the amount of homework and revision during Ramadan, calling on schools to ensure teachers, students and parents get to spend more time in prayer and with their families.

Most nurseries and schools will also hold special community initiatives or events to mark this special month, such as community iftars or donation initiatives. Find out more about what Ramadan means to UAE students and parents and how fasting affects children here.


Find out all the public holidays slated for 2023 and how they align with school term times here.

© A WhichMedia Group publication. 2023. All rights reserved.

About The Author
Tabitha Barda
Tabitha Barda is the Senior Editor of Oxbridge educated and an award winning journalist in the UAE for more than a decade, Tabitha is one of the region's shining lights in all that is education in the emirates. A mum herself, she is passionate about helping parents - and finding the stories in education that deserve telling. She is responsible for the busy 24x7 News Desk, our Advisory Boards and Specialist Panels - and's The School's Report - the global weekly round up of what matters in education for parents which is published every Friday, reviewing schools across the UAE - and features on issues that really matter. You can often find Tabitha on Parents United - our Facebook community board, discussing the latest schools and education issues with our parent community in the UAE - and beyond.

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