Private schools to remain open this Thursday, says Abu Dhabi's regulator

Families left confused after officials reversed plans to close schools on November 29

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, Jan 27, 2016. A mathematics classroom at Gems Wellington Academy. The school has converted 12 classrooms into a large plaza which provides a flexible environment to children to learn.
Photo: Reem Mohammed (Reporter: Nadeem Hanif  Section: NA) Job ID: 36151 *** Local Caption ***  RM_20160127_GEMS_27.JPG
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Private schools across Abu Dhabi have been told to remain open for UAE Commemoration Day, which will be observed this Thursday.

Officials from the Department of Education and Knowledge began contacting schools this week after some had planned to close for the day.

Commemoration Day, previously known as Martyrs’ Day, honours the sacrifices of men and women who have died in the service of the nation.

It is usually observed on November 30 and has previously been a public holiday. Authorities made the decision to bring it forward by a day, meaning some families who had planned to go away were caught out.

Tara, a British parent living in Abu Dhabi, said she was forced to cancel a family holiday to Oman after her sons’ schools reversed their decision to close for the day.

She said that her nine-year-old is a pupil at Brighton College Abu Dhabi, while her 13-year-old attends Cranleigh Abu Dhabi.

“We planned to travel during the long weekend and my husband and I both managed to get a day off on Thursday, which is very difficult for us,” Tara said.

“After that, the schools came back and said there is no holiday on Thursday. We have already decided to cancel our travel plans to Oman and will be staying in the UAE now.

“It’s just inconvenient. Managing logistics is so tough and it’s tricky to get time off work. Now my children will be going to school on Thursday and I will be heading to work.”


Read more:

UAE Rulers honour martyrs on Commemoration Day


Tracey Boux, whose daughter Scarlett, five, is at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, said she was relieved when she found out the school would remain open on Thursday.

“I’m working on Thursday and I was panicking about what to do,” Ms Boux said.

“Normally school holidays are aligned with the public holidays at places of work.

“We were told the school would be closed. But later we got another email saying the school would be open. Many parents didn’t know the school would be open.”

She said that many of her friends who were planning to take advantage of the long weekend created by National Day falling on Sunday, December 2, still intend to stick to their plans and go away on Thursday.

One Egyptian parent of two, whose children both study at Al Yasmina Academy in Abu Dhabi, said their school had still not notified them about whether it would be open or closed on Thursday.

“They haven’t told us anything about the holiday yet,” she said.

“We’ve had no information from the school. We’re used to being informed at short notice but I don’t know who to blame, so we’ll just wait.”

A spokeswoman for Merryland International School said classes would continue on Thursday and that the school would be celebrating Commemoration Day.

To mark the day many schools have organised flag-raising ceremonies in the morning and are observing a minute of silence at 11.30am.