Classrooms busy again after 'extra' Eid break

School attendance shot up across the country yesterday at the start of the second week of term, with some classrooms virtually full after only about three in 10 pupils turned up last week. "Today is normal. The holiday is finished," said Mohammed al Hammadi, the principal of Al Bayraq, a secondary school for boys in Al Ain.

Attendance had jumped from 30 per cent last week to 95 per cent yesterday, he said, adding that he believed last week's low numbers were due to families extending their holidays and parental anxiety over swine flu. In some cases attendance last week was said to be as low as seven per cent after state schools reopened on Wednesday between the end of the Eid holidays and the weekend. In Sharjah, one head teacher said only 20 children out of a total of 500 had turned up on the first day. Qamber Mahmoud Ghuloom, the head of Halwan Secondary School, said one class only had one pupil.

Suhaila al Muhairbi, the principal of Al Kadisia Secondary School in Abu Dhabi, also reported dramatically improved attendance. Last week the school had been half empty, she said, but yesterday attendance was about 73 per cent. "Maybe the parents were afraid of H1N1 or maybe they were on holiday," said Mrs al Muhairbi, who nonetheless noted that attendance was usually lower at the start of the academic year when many children were changing to new schools.

Attendance was up from 50 to 85 per cent at Aisha bin Abi Bakr, a secondary school for girls in Abu Dhabi, while Al Muntaha, a secondary school for girls in Musaffah, saw an even more dramatic jump from 27 per cent on the first day to 83 per cent yesterday. On the second day of school fewer than one in 10 pupils had shown up. "I think they know that the first two days are going to be spent distributing books," said an English teacher at the school who asked that her name not be used.

"Eid is always like that. If school starts in the middle of the week no one will come. If it is the beginning of the week they will come. Many of the girls who are coming back from neighbouring countries, they will just continue their Eid holiday." The Ministry of Education has not released official attendance figures, and did not provide them upon request. Nor did the Abu Dhabi Education Council, the agency that oversees schools in the capital. Its equivalent in Dubai, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, will release attendance figures next month.

The low turnout prompted education experts to call on parents to ensure their children attend classes, and for the Government and schools to enforce attendance policies. They argued that parental neglect of education could have negative consequences for the nation. "Parents need to understand the value of education," said Dr Earle Warnica, who used to work as a consultant for the Ministry of Education. "Learning is important, going to school is important, you need to teach your kids that they need to go to school.

"If the UAE is ever to reach world standards, all must learn that time equals learning." Dr Warnica added that attendance problems might also be fuelled by a lack of commitment attributable to the fact that public schools are free. According to official statistics, in Dubai, more than half Emirati students go to private school, with the number increasing seven per cent annually over the past five years.

Dr Mugheer Khamis al Khaili, the director general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), agreed that attendance and engagement with children are essential. "We have identified increased parental involvement as a key factor in developing our emirate's education system," he said. "We request that parents take school attendance seriously, and work together with our schools to help our students reach their academic potential."

Ali Abdullah, a retired Emirati whose children are in primary, preparatory and secondary public schools, said he saw no reason not to send them on opening day. "It's simply the school's schedule." Other parents blamed the government system for choosing to start school near the end of the week. Ahmed al Hammadi, a government worker who did not send his primary school daughter to class on Wednesday, said the family had been on holiday in Dubai during Eid. "They shouldn't cut the week like that, it should have been either the entire week or nothing at all. The students want to complete the holiday," he said.

One psychiatrist said an apparent lack of concern by parents about education could cause their children to have problems later in life. "Education is a collective effort by parents, schools and the child," said Dr Yousef Abou Allaban, the medical director of the American Centre for Psychiatry and Neurology in Abu Dhabi. * Additional reporting by Yasin Kakande and Zahra Hankir

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The Royal Navy raid is the latest in a series of successful interceptions of drugs and arms in the Gulf

May 11: US coastguard recovers $80 million heroin haul from fishing vessel in Gulf of Oman

May 8: US coastguard vessel USCGC Glen Harris seizes heroin and meth worth more than $30 million from a fishing boat

March 2: Anti-tank guided missiles and missile components seized by HMS Lancaster from a small boat travelling from Iran

October 9, 2022: Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose recovers drugs worth $17.8 million from a dhow in Arabian Sea

September 27, 2022: US Naval Forces Central Command reports a find of 2.4 tonnes of heroin on board fishing boat in Gulf of Oman 

Indoor cricket in a nutshell

Indoor cricket in a nutshell
Indoor Cricket World Cup - Sept 16-20, Insportz, Dubai

16 Indoor cricket matches are 16 overs per side
8 There are eight players per team
9 There have been nine Indoor Cricket World Cups for men. Australia have won every one.
5 Five runs are deducted from the score when a wickets falls
4 Batsmen bat in pairs, facing four overs per partnership

Scoring In indoor cricket, runs are scored by way of both physical and bonus runs. Physical runs are scored by both batsmen completing a run from one crease to the other. Bonus runs are scored when the ball hits a net in different zones, but only when at least one physical run is score.


A Front net, behind the striker and wicketkeeper: 0 runs
B Side nets, between the striker and halfway down the pitch: 1 run
C Side nets between halfway and the bowlers end: 2 runs
D Back net: 4 runs on the bounce, 6 runs on the full


Goalkeepers: Kim Seung-gyu, Jo Hyeon-woo, Song Bum-keun
Defenders: Kim Young-gwon, Kim Min-jae, Jung Seung-hyun, Kim Ju-sung, Kim Ji-soo, Seol Young-woo, Kim Tae-hwan, Lee Ki-je, Kim Jin-su
Midfielders: Park Yong-woo, Hwang In-beom, Hong Hyun-seok, Lee Soon-min, Lee Jae-sung, Lee Kang-in, Son Heung-min (captain), Jeong Woo-yeong, Moon Seon-min, Park Jin-seob, Yang Hyun-jun
Strikers: Hwang Hee-chan, Cho Gue-sung, Oh Hyeon-gyu


Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

yallacompare profile

Date of launch: 2014

Founder: Jon Richards, founder and chief executive; Samer Chebab, co-founder and chief operating officer, and Jonathan Rawlings, co-founder and chief financial officer

Based: Media City, Dubai 

Sector: Financial services

Size: 120 employees

Investors: 2014: $500,000 in a seed round led by Mulverhill Associates; 2015: $3m in Series A funding led by STC Ventures (managed by Iris Capital), Wamda and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority; 2019: $8m in Series B funding with the same investors as Series A along with Precinct Partners, Saned and Argo Ventures (the VC arm of multinational insurer Argo Group)

'The Batman'

Stars:Robert Pattinson

Director:Matt Reeves

Rating: 5/5


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

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