Staff and pupils at private schools in Sharjah will enjoy a longer weekend than most of the UAE after Thursday was announced as a holiday in the emirate to mark the Prophet Mohammed's birthday.
Friday was announced as a public and private holiday across the country to mark the occasion, however the three-day weekend has been in place in Sharjah for almost two years.
Hence Sharjah Private Education Authority confirmed that all private schools in the emirate will remain closed on Thursday.
Public schools, however, which are overseen by Emirates Schools Establishment, will operate as usual in Sharjah on Thursday, in line with the rest of the schools in other parts of the country.
Families rejoice at extra time off
Yara Mahmoud, 40, whose son Jad Thaer is a grade 1 pupil at Sharjah's International School of Chouiefat, said the extra day off was a wonderful opportunity for children to connect with their religious roots and teachings.
“It’s not just about having a day off, it's about understanding the significance of the day,” she said.
Tala Salim, from Jordan, is in grade 7 at Rosary Private School. She said it will mean more play time for her.
“It's amazing because usually my mom takes up most of my regular three-day weekend to revise my studies and homework,” she said.
Her mother Jumana Yousif, 36, said that between helping her son and daughter with their studies, she barely gets a moment to relax.
“This extra day allows me to catch my breath and spend more fun time with my family,” she said.
“It's also an opportunity to educate our children about the significance of this special day, because it's crucial for them to understand and appreciate the values and teachings that come with it.”
Khalid Mohammed, from Egypt, whose daughter is in grade 5 at Sharjah's International School of Chouiefat, emphasised the benefit of longer family time.
“This extra day provides a valuable break for us as a family to spend quality time together,” he said.
Long weekend ahead
Private sector employees in the UAE were given a three-day weekend to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed.
The announcement was made by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation on X, formerly known as Twitter, last week.
“The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has announced that Friday, 29 September, 2023 (14 Rabi Al Awwal 1445H) is a paid public holiday for private sector employees to mark the birthday of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him),” the message said.
“On this auspicious occasion, we extend our heartfelt greetings to the UAE leadership, citizens and residents.”
Earlier, the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources confirmed public sector workers would be granted a public holiday on the same day.
The holiday is marked by observance rather than celebration, with festivities kept to a minimum.
The public and private sectors in the Emirates typically have the same holidays.