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Ramadan 2022 in UAE: Reduced school timings confirmed. KHDA urges less homework. Parents react

Ramadan 2022 in UAE: Reduced school timings confirmed. KHDA urges less homework. Parents react

by Tabitha BardaMarch 31, 2022

Ramadan 2022 is almost upon us, and there’s been much debate on what the new 4.5- day working week means for school hours during the Holy Month.
The Dubai school regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), has now confirmed the Ramadan 2022 school timings in a circular sent out to institutions across the emirate.

Mohammed Darwish, CEO of Permits and Compliance at the KHDA said:
“Dubai’s private schools will have shorter timings during the holy month of Ramadan. Schools should provide a maximum of five hours of instruction time and classes should end by 12pm on Fridays. These timings have been developed in close consultation with families and schools.”
KHDA has also advised schools to limit the amount of homework and revision, calling on schools to ensure teachers, students and parents get to spend more time in prayer and with their families. Darwish added:
“The holy month of Ramadan is an extremely important and significant time of the year for Muslims. We encourage students, staff and their families to practice the virtues of compassion, gratitude and the spirit of community during this holy month.”

When will the work get done?

It is always anticipated that school and office timings will be cut down during the holy month. But this year it is a bit different: the UAE’s introduction of the 4.5-day working week for government departments, which was adopted by all UAE schools from 1 January 2022, means that there has been some debate about what to do on Fridays.

Traditionally schools cut their timings down from being open seven hours per day to five hours per day during Ramadan, but the new half-day on Friday means that the school “day” is set to become just around three hours on a Friday.

Parental reactions to this have been mixed.

One parent commented on our post about the news of private-sector hours being reduced:

“And when will the work get done?”

Another said:

“I think Fridays should not be curtailed any further. There’s no point waking in the morning, preparing for and going to school if it’s just for 2 or 3 hours – especially for parents who do the school drive and spend so much time on the roads to and from school, what with the traffic and all.”


Is this some kind of joke?

The KHDA announced the Ramadan school timings change on its social media today:

“In line with students’ recommendations, schools will starts at “whenever” and finish at “soon after that”. Staying awake is optional for both students and teachers.”

Coupled with a cartoon GIF, it was clear to anyone aware of the date on which is was posted (1 April; aka April Fool’s Day) that this was one of the KHDA’s characteristic jokes.

While most social media users laughed along in good humour, it hit a raw nerve about school timings for others. One Instagram user commented:

“What’s next ? No more school? Timings are getting more and more ridiculous.”

Ramadan school timings: the details

With schools currently on Spring Break, families will be returning to school in the midst of Ramadan, so most schools will have informed parents of the altered timings for drop-offs and pick-ups before they broke up for the vacation.

To date, no school has advised us that they are cancelling Friday classes altogether.

Not all schools are required to pick precisely the same timings, and many will vary their exact hours in order to stagger the traffic around pick-up and drop-off times in areas where there are multiple schools in relatively close proximity.

Horizon English School for example, put out a survey asking parents to pick between three possible timing choices, and went with the most popular one. It has since announced that it will be open from 8.30am until 1.30pm on Monday to Thursday, and 8.20am until 12pm on Fridays.

UAE Ramadan 2022 hours for Private and Public sectors

Federal UAE government entities will be open for five hours per day for the first four days of the working week during Ramadan, from 9am till 2pm Monday to Thursday. The usual working day Monday to Friday for government employees is 7.30am to 3.30pm, so this represents a day that is shorter by three hours.

On Fridays during Ramadan, government entities will be open from 9am to 12 noon, compared to the regular timings of 7.30am to 12 noon, representing a day that is shorter by 1.5 hours.

During the holy month of Ramadan, the working hours of private sector employees (and schools) are traditionally reduced by two hours per day. The reduction in working hours applies to everyone in the private sector, irrespective of whether the employees are Muslim or fasting. Therefore, the usual maximum working hours for an employee working in the UAE during Ramadan are 30 hours per week (based upon a five-day working week).

The UAE became the first country in the world to introduce a 4.5 day working week for public sector entities at the start of this year. Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday form the new weekend in the country. Although it is not mandatory for private companies to change their timings in line with government departments, private sector schools in Dubai have all followed the public-sector’s lead and also follow a 4.5-day working week.

School and office timings are reduced during the holy month of Ramadan as Muslims abstain from food and water during the day.

It is predicted that April 2 will mark the first day of Ramadan in 2022, although the exact date will depend upon moon sightings.

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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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