Dubai: Tens of thousands of UAE students returned to classes on Sunday after the three-week winter break, with schools setting the 2018 agenda, which includes activities for the Year of Zayed and preparing for exams.
The second term has now started for most schools — however, some schools resume classes next Sunday. Also, for Indian schools, the reopening marks the start of the third and final term of their academic year.
On Sunday, the familiar yellow school buses were back on the roads, with some reports of traffic slowing down near schools. In an early morning advisory, Dubai Police said on Twitter: “Dear motorists: slow down and be careful when entering and exiting school zones”.
Schools are off to a running start, with many educationists turning the focus on a UAE government initiative that has declared 2018 as the Year of Zayed, marking 100 years since the birth of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE. Scores of public and private sector undertakings, including those at schools, will be highlighting the late Shaikh Zayed’s contributions, achievements and exemplary leadership in various fields.
On Sunday, Lesley Isherwood, principal and CEO of GEMS Al Barsha National School in Dubai, which has a girls school and a boys school, said: “In our girls’ assembly this morning, the students enjoyed reflecting on the amazing Dubai New Year celebrations as the UAE launched the Year of Zayed. With the motto ‘Putting your best foot forward’, the two schools will be holding many events and activities to reinforce this theme.”
She added: “With the Year of Zayed celebrating everything that has been achieved in the UAE, our two schools are committed to ensuring that our students appreciate and understand fully the unique UAE language, culture, heritage and successes. Our own Hawiatee values [My Identity] also underpin everything that we do. We have already arranged a number of special events with key Emirati role models to support this further throughout the next two terms.”
Isherwood also said that the two Al Barsha schools “are delighted to return to a new, exciting term and New Year 2018 where student achievement is our key priority”.
Also speaking on Sunday, Brendon Fulton, principal at Dubai British School (DBS), said: “[DBS] was very pleased to welcome our 1,150 students back into school today after an unusually long December break. It’s been a day full of excitement with friends reconnecting, and students — and teachers — recounting holiday stories — from skiing in Europe to going on safari in Africa and doing volunteer work around the world.”
Fulton added: “With English language exams looming for our Year 11, the term promises to be another busy, productive and positive one for all of our staff, students and families at DBS.”
Ramesh Mudgal, principal of Global Indian International School (GIIS) Dubai, said 1,800 pupils in total returned on Sunday at GIIS’ Dubai and Abu Dhabi schools.
Mudgal said: “As we flip over the calendar to a new year, we at GIIS, welcome our students to a bright and successful 2018, the Year of Zayed to honour and commemorate his 100th anniversary with his values of unity, compassion and innovation. Spread through 2018, we have plans for many events focusing on each vision laid out by Shaikh Zayed and with a commitment that these values will be inculcated in each student of GIIS. Last month, GIIS celebrated Al Tasamuh, a festival to promote peace and harmony in the community by practicing tolerance, compassion and universal love. This marked the start for more events like these. We at GIIS not only stand committed to uphold his values of unity, compassion and innovation, but hope to channel his spirit that enabled the region find its guiding light to groom future leaders of such stature.”