School year to begin in late September

State and private schools following the Ministry of Education's curriculum will not start the new term until after Ramadan.

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ABU DHABI // The school year will begin on September 23, after Ramadan, for state schools and private establishments that use the Ministry of Education curriculum. Teachers will report for duty on September 13, according to the ministry. The decision, officials said, came partly in response to a question posed on the social networking website Facebook by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Schools had originally been told that the academic year would begin on August 30. A Ministry of Education representative said private schools following international curriculums can start the 2009-10 academic year at their discretion. Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority and the Abu Dhabi Education Council are both awaiting details from the ministry on when the school year is expected to end. That decision would be made in the next week or so, officials said.

Sheikh Mohammed had asked the public whether the school year should start on schedule or be postponed until after the Eid al Fitr holiday. After many comments in favour of postponement, Sheikh Mohammed posted a message that said: "Thanks for your generous response to my question regarding the upcoming academic year. I appreciate these opinions and insights from such a wide diversity of people in our society."