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Education council: New academic year in Qatar to begin Sept. 18, 2016


Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Students at Qatar’s government-run independent schools may have a longer summer holiday next year, not returning to classes until mid-September, the country’s education authority has said.

In a statement published in Arabic on its website, the Supreme Education Council (SEC) confirmed that the start of the school term for pupils will begin on Sept. 18, 2016.

The decision was made by the country’s Education and Higher Education Minister, Dr. Mohammed Abdul Wahed Al Hammadi, the SEC said.

The Sept. 18 start date likely applies also to private schools, since Qatar has had a unified summer holiday schedule since 2012. 

Eid holiday

The revised back-to-school date means that the Eid Al Adha holidays will be incorporated into the summer vacation for students next year.

This year, many returned to school on Sept. 6 for just over two weeks of classes before they broke for a week’s Eid vacation.

Eid al-Adha 2015 at the Imam Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque
Eid al-Adha 2015

But Eid will be approximately 11 days earlier in September next year.

According to the SEC’s statement, teachers are expected to return to work on Sept. 4.

No details were given about Eid break for staff or when summer holidays will begin in June/July.

Thus, it remains unclear whether the students will have a longer summer vacation next year, or whether they will finish up classes later than usual to make up for the late September start.

The mid-year break for schools has also been set, to run from Jan. 24 until Feb. 4, the SEC said.

Private schools

Speaking to Doha News, one international school headteacher said it was in talks with the SEC to confirm its calendar for next year.

Dr Steffen Sommer, Principal of Doha College, said: “We are aware of the SEC’s directive regarding 2016 term dates and the Eid holidays. Doha College, a community school along with other British Schools in the Middle East (BSME), have approached the SEC with suggested term dates that allow us to fulfil our required teaching days. We are awaiting the SEC’s advice and guidelines.”

For illustrative purposes only
For illustrative purposes only

Most schools publish their annual calendars with the caveat that dates are subject to change by the SEC.

Schools are expected to vary other holiday dates such as winter break by no more than a week, and all should have a minimum of 180 teaching days a year.

Staff and pupils can also expect shorter days for most of June next year, as Ramadan is due to begin around June 7.

This year, private schools and kindergartens set a five-hour school day, after receiving a directive from the SEC advising them to make the changes.

Will the changes affect your summer holiday plans for next year? Thoughts?

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