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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Some Qatar private schools change Ramadan schedule after SEC letter

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For illustrative purposes only
For illustrative purposes only

Updated on June 18 with new information about schools’ latest timetables.

At least a handful of private schools in Qatar have announced last-minute changes to their teaching hours in Ramadan after the Supreme Education Council (SEC) issued a circular to all non-government schools and kindergartens yesterday.

The letter from the SEC’s Private Schools Office Director, Hamad Mohammed Al Ghali Al Marri, was received by schools at 1pm yesterday.

It states that a five-hour working day, from 9am until 2pm, should be adhered to during the holy month, which is expected to begin either tonight or tomorrow evening.

“According to the circular No. 4 of the year 2015 of his Excellency the Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs- it was decided that the official working hours in the holy month of Ramadan are 5 hours every day, from 9am to 2pm,” an English translation of the letter says.

While no official reason was given in the letter, a later start would mean those who are fasting and up in the early hours of the morning for suhoor would not need to wake so early in the morning to take children to school.

These hours also align with the official working day for those in the public and semi-government sectors during Ramadan.

However, following the 9am to 2pm schedule would have required some private schools to push back the start of their day by 90 minutes to two hours.

And if all schools and ministries followed the same schedule, roads would be particularly busy around these times.

School changes

Some schools, including the International School of London Qatar (ISLQ) and Birla Public School (BPS), confirmed to Doha News that they will change their school day to follow the wording of the letter.

ISLQ
ISLQ

ISLQ’s SEC communications coordinator Mirna Shebbani said that the school would operate from 9am to 2pm and had “immediately” informed parents of the new timetable.

It had previously planned for the school day to run for five hours from 8am until 1pm until the last day of its term on June 25.

Most schools in Qatar had already announced measures to shorten the length of their during the hotter weather and for the month of Ramadan, although some had scheduled to operate for more than five hours.

For example, earlier this month, BPS cut its school day by about an hour, to run for five and a half hours from 7am until 12:30pm due to “extreme weather conditions.”

A BPS representative initially told Doha News that the principal decided this morning to change the school day to run from 9am to 2pm and would be contacting parents today to advise them.

However, by the start of Ramadan (June 18), the school announced that it had changed its school day to run from 7.30am-12.30pm.

Many other Indian curriculum schools in Qatar have also adopted the same timetable, although Ideal Indian School’s day starts at 9am and runs until 12.30pm during Ramadan, while Doha Modern Indian School has implemented a 9am-2pm school day.

Five-hour day

However, other schools said they have shortened their day to comply with the five-hour rule, but chosen to keep their working hours similar to before.

Doha English Speaking School pupils
Doha English Speaking School pupils

Doha English Speaking School (DESS) headteacher Andy Yeoman sent a letter to its parents late this morning, advising them of a slight change to the school day, with the school set to start around 10 to 20 minutes earlier than usual at 7:20am during Ramadan.

Classes will finish at 12:25pm for children from pre-school to Year 2, and at 12:30pm for children in years 3 to 6.

During the rest of the school year, children from Reception to Year 6 at the school usually finish classes between 1:45 and 2pm.

Advising parents of the change, Yeoman added:

“The SEC message from Mr. Hamad Al Ghali Al Marri, Director of the SEC Private Schools Office, was very apologetic for the late notice, especially as they had previously approved our reduced hours of 7:20am to 1pm.”

Doha College headteacher Mark Leppard also sent a letter to the school community, advising them of new changes to the timetable once Ramadan is officially declared.

Students at Doha College will start at 7am and classes will finish at noon, Leppard stated. The school had previously planned to shift the school day earlier by 10 minutes, with classes scheduled to start at 7:20am and end at 1pm.

Meanwhile, Park House English School told Doha News it would also shorten its day, expecting it to start at 8am until 1pm, rather than 7:30am to 1:30pm.

Has your school been affected by the changes? Thoughts?

64 COMMENTS

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Peaches
Peaches
5 years ago

My Company is still working 6hrs, 8am-2pm even though the labor law says we should not work more than 5 consecutive hours without a break. But I know if I raise it then the Company will make working on Saturdays mandatory…work work work

Anks
Anks
5 years ago
Reply to  Peaches

you are much better for me its the same nine and half hours, like regular days 🙂

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
5 years ago
Reply to  Anks

That’s rubbish :(((

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

It should be, but sadly it isn’t. Many companies don’t follow the rules.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Anks

Well I hope they at least let you eat and drink and don’t force you to fast

Nadoosh
Nadoosh
5 years ago
Reply to  Peaches

the labor law states that the maximum hours is 6 hours.

Whatever
Whatever
5 years ago

Nothing like a little bit of advance planning.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  Whatever

And that was nothing like any sort of planning. A phrase referring to a somewhat raucous party in a place that manufactures a brown liquid substance comes to mind.

Abdullah
Abdullah
5 years ago

It is surprising to see that these schools will remain open in Ramadan. As far as I know the schools should be closed during Ramadan if Ramadan comes during summer time. It’s one thing for students to goto schools in such hot weather conditions and to do so while fasting is even more difficult. SEC should ask these schools to close for Ramadan rather than reducing the timings.

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdullah

Not all students are fasting though…

Abdullah
Abdullah
5 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

This maybe the reason that they are not fasting. But how hard would it be for those who are fasting? And many of the private schools will be closed during the month of Ramadan so why don’t they?

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdullah

Not al students are Muslim. I work in a private school and very few students are fasting. So we are open until July!!

Strategic thought gone missing
Strategic thought gone missing
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdullah

The SEC needs to start planning more than a few days out!!! It’s not like Ramadan just crept up on the SEC and surprised them by suddenly starting in the school term’s hotter months. This is something which has been known about for years and just basically highlights the typical SEC methods of advanced planning.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdullah

So once Ramadan falls in the months of April and May, you want all schools to be closed and then open during July and August? Good luck with this planning … Yes, it is Ramadan, and yes it is difficult during the summer months, but I am sure also students can observe the holy month while being at school (obviously the older ones). Also, I think there should be an exemption for fasting while having to write exams, something that will happen next year and the following ones to come …

Zafar
Zafar
5 years ago

April and May are relatively better in terms of weather and so time decrease would suffice. Starting June to September the weather is too hot and so If Ramadan falls during these months closure of schools is better.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
5 years ago
Reply to  Zafar

And again, if they close the schools for one month, when are the kids going to have this one month of learning? They will have to compensate for the time lost if closed for Ramadan, and I don’t see schools being open again in August, due to the “hot weather” …

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago

they can cancel the december holidays. simple.

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
5 years ago
Reply to  terracotta

Oh this would make a load of people angry … but isn’t this also considered end of term holidays? School systems here are rather confusing, and I do have the feeling there are more days off than actual school days 😉

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
5 years ago
Reply to  Zafar

So every students education (which affects their whole life) has to suffer for people who are fasting for 1 month if the year? You look at some of the Olympians, they don’t moan when it is Ramadan and they have to compete. You don’t hear them asking for the Olympics or other competitions to be put off for them, they man up and get on with it.

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

are you an Olympian?

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

Well now did anyone say the summer world cup was not going to be good for the players and spectators?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdullah

Why would anyone under the age of 18 be fasting? That seems a cruel and unsual punishment for children who are still developing.

Farhan
Farhan
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

In Islam Its is not mandatory for children who are under the age of puberty, which is usually 14 to 16. And those who do fast under that age is for the respect of their religion. Its not a punishment. Try to have some respect for religions

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  Farhan

Your snarkiness is uncalled for. A simple question was asked and you were doing a fine job answering it until your last sentence.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

no , its called for, doing calling doing something religious to ppl ( punishment for children) is pure disrespect to ppl & their religion .

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

where did those doing came from ???? scratch that .

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

You are incorrect. The poster had an opportunity to educate about an often mis-understood and mysterious element of worshiping his god. To many, including my family, when told that some Muslims annually deny children drink and food for 12-14 hours at a stretch they saw it as abuse and punishment. After the reasoning was explained they understood the thinking, but still found it shocking. Frankly, if you don’t know anything about Islam (and for many people there is no reason at all why they should, they have probably never knowingly spoke with a Muslim) fasting of this type can be seen as a punishment to seek atonement.

The ways of the god of Islam are mysterious and fearful to many and represented only by the 6 PM news. This was an opportunity for education and understanding that was not taken.

As for respect, well, you should hear some of the things I’ve heard Muslims says about Hindus and their relationship with cows, based completely on ignorance and their understanding of looking at rituals from the outside without having the significance explained to them. We need to understand each other’s gods, and that only helps through opportunities to explain and teach about customs that seem distasteful to outsiders.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

im not discussion how needs education , or manners here ,starting hateful comments by saying words like ( punishment to children ) about a religious practice , to start something most call cyber bulling is what needs to be stopped.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

They are not hateful, they are expressing a commonly held, but ignorant, opinion of a strange and unknown religious practice.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

playing the ignorant card is getting old, especially when the commenter uses words in his comments like ( punishment to kid, terrorizing the ) while talking about a religious practice in his country of resident , it only shows his hateful & disrespectful self to the religion & its followers .

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

LOL, I can’t tell you the number of Qataris I have met over the years who lived for years in the UK or the US as students and don’t understand the first thing about representative democracy or the most basic tenants of Christianity, or the ideas they do have are so wrong as to be laughable. Sound familiar? Does that mean that they are hateful and disrespectful? Living in a country does not necessarily lead to an understanding of the ideologies and thinking of that land.

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

MIMH is not new to Qatar. has been here for the past few years. FYI, MIMh has also been banned from many of the qatar based forums as well.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  terracotta

They may or may not be so. It still doesn’t change the fact that there was opportunity for education and bridge building that was not taken. Equally, it in to way means that the statements made by MIMH are hateful.

Seriously, if you walked into Costa coffee and started rounding people up and asking questions how many could tell you the difference between the Eids? Why the moon is waited for? What Ramadan means? For many non-Muslims Ramadan is a mysterious annoyance to be dealt with once a year that has the benefit of less traffic. How does one get to know what it means?

I’d dare say that most would have no idea, just the same as most Qataris educated in the US couldn’t tell your the first thing about tricameral government, despite living there.

Don’t assume that because someone lives somewhere they have acquired an understanding of the myths, religions, beliefs and superstitions of that country; particularly a country whose society is as fragmented and divided as Qatar.

terracotta
terracotta
5 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

I can understand if you compare the shura council with tricameral legislature.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  terracotta

Then you don’t really understand at all tricameral ism at all. How would you compare and contrast trabsubstantiation and al Qadar?

Shaz Shahar
Shaz Shahar
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Quite oblivious of you saying it is a punishment for kids below 18. It is a religious requirement. And it’s up to parents to make it a must for those below10.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Shaz Shahar

OMG terrorizing young children. You do know in Islam they say there is no compulsion in religion, so forcing kids under 10 is child abuse.

Nadoosh
Nadoosh
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

young children are not required to fast, however, usually they want to fast because they want to be like their parents and older siblings so they fast half a day until they get home from school. my mom callas it “the bird’s fasting” lol. However, when they reach puberty (which is basically having the first menstrual cycle for girls, and having wet dreams for boys), they are considered to be adults and required to do all acts of worship, and one of them is fasting. its not a punishment for anyone and trust me just ask any fasting child, they see it as something to be proud of, something that they enjoy, and feel accomplished after finishing. its good for children on the spiritual level as well.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdullah

So how are kids supposed to get an adequate education?

Kz
Kz
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdullah

Irrespective of it being Ramadan, schools should have been closed a week earlier. It has been very hot since the last week. Why are schools even open at this point of time? Shouldnt SEC be asking for schools to be closed due to the extremely hot conditions?

Shaz Shahar
Shaz Shahar
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdullah

Isn’t fasting supposed to teach us to endure all sort of test. I do not see anything wrong with school and working hours goes on as usual. We still carry on with our normal school and work hours back in my home country and it’s no big deal really.

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdullah

Aren’t you supposed to just get on with your normal life while fasting? Isn’t that the whole point?

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Waveydavey

he is talking about the kids in school, thou most don’t start fasting in very young age !!!

Nadoosh
Nadoosh
5 years ago
Reply to  Abdullah

Ramadan or no Ramadan, schools need to be closed by the end of April!! WTH are they still studying?? I work at Georgetown university and they finished both fall and summer semesters!!
these schools need serious interventions. its summer vacation for god’s sake!

Rane de Beer
Rane de Beer
5 years ago

As far as I understand it, fasting is only obligatory for children once they reach puberty, although it is recommended for them to try and do it at an earlier age. So in principle, primary schools could function as normal. Regarding the ‘hot weather’ – surely all the schools have AC, so I can’t see how the heat changes anything.

Nadoosh
Nadoosh
5 years ago
Reply to  Rane de Beer

who teaches children and run schools? adults. Then if they were fasting, they should get 5-6 hours of work during Ramadan as the labor law says.

Bornrich
Bornrich
5 years ago

The roads are going to be fun with everyone starting school AND work at the same time. I’m thinking of going at our usual time and then reading to my son for an hour in the car parked outside the school. A more productive use of time than sitting in traffic!

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Be especially careful on the trip home!

Nadoosh
Nadoosh
5 years ago
Reply to  Bornrich

Public schools and universities are all on summer vacation now. its only a handful of private schools and I do not think its going to be an issue.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago

In other news the 2022 World Cup may be starting in 2028 or it may not be starting at all.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

It might be better to say that it is starting next Wednesday at 2 given the lead time that the SEC seems to give.

Rasi
Rasi
5 years ago

I didn’t see it coming

Global Nomad
Global Nomad
5 years ago
Reply to  Rasi

Nice ….. RED2?

Rasi
Rasi
5 years ago
Reply to  Global Nomad

Erm up vote?

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago

I’ve lost all hope in SEC .. All hope… They are nothing more than waste oxygen

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

A brutal statement but there may be some truth in it given they seem to struggle to read a calendar, tell the time, make a decision and explain it. Not exactly rocket science.

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

And miss those key events that most of the rest of us have known about for ages!

Global Nomad
Global Nomad
5 years ago

Expect the unexpected …… Expect Amazing!?

Aamir Abbas
Aamir Abbas
5 years ago

We at Taallum Group Schools(Al Jazeera,Al Mahas)also had to change the timings last minute today to comply with SEC instructions.

Moleskine
Moleskine
5 years ago

The SEC is not fit for purpose, and never has been. Didn’t I read somewhere recently that they are to be abolished and subsumed back into the Department of Education? That could be better or even worse. In Qatar they really have no clue about what educations really about. Thank goodness I teach expat kids….They and their parents actually get what it’s all about

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
5 years ago
Reply to  Moleskine

Deleting for stereotyping.

jb80
jb80
5 years ago

I can only assume the SEC had hundreds of complaints as we have just been informed we can now chose our 5 hours and 9-2 is not obligatory, totally different to the information from yesterday. Well done SEC, another fantastic decision!

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  jb80

As the man says – expect amazing.

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