Pupils in years 5 to 12 at government schools in the UAE can opt to wear the traditional Emirati kandura in place of uniforms from next week.
However, from next year, when the new academic term begins, the national dress will become the mandatory uniform for male pupils.
The announcement was made by the Emirates Schools Establishment.
“Male [pupils] from the fifth grade and above have the option to wear the national dress after a survey and guardians' requests,” the schools regulator said.
Along with the kandura, pupils can also wear the headscarf, known as ghutra.
Previously, pupils at government schools were able to wear the kandura on campus before the Ministry of Education introduced school uniforms in 2019.
The old rule stated that all pupils at government schools across the country would have to wear a standardised line of uniform, available at a fixed price, in an effort to reduce the financial burden on parents.
Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Future Technology and chairman of Emirates Schools Establishment, said the new order regarding national dress came after many requests from parents.
”Following the requests and wishes of parents, the national dress for male [pupils] in [years 5 to 12] will be an option,” she said.
“Joint efforts with parents will achieve our government’s vision in this sector.”
Last month, ESE announced that all pupils in UAE public schools would have to purchase new uniforms for the beginning of the academic year.
From years 9 to 12, boys who do not wear a kandura are expected to wear a formal white shirt — long or short-sleeved — and dark blue trousers.
The sports uniform consists of a white and dark blue T-shirt and dark blue sports trousers.
Girls' uniforms were also updated to a white shirt with long trousers. Ties were removed from the uniform after the update.