The "holiday unification" story has reared its head again after being dismissed as impractical for the 2012/2013 academic year.
Speaking at the "second briefing" for the next academic year Humaid Mohammad Obaid Al Qutami, Minister of Education, said both public and private schools would have uniform holidays for the academic year 2013/14, and that private schools refusing to comply with this decision would be penalised.
In April 2012 Al Qutami made a similar announcement, stating holidays for all public and private schools, colleges and universities across the UAE would be unified from the 2013 academic year. The move he said would "help strengthen the education sector" and "contribute to enriching the stability of families".
One month later however in May 2012, Mohammad Darwish, Chief of the Regulation and Compliance Commission at the KHDA announced the unification would not happen.
"We cannot have one-size-fits-all solutions, we have schools attached to their respective education boards [IBO, US, UK Edexcel and CIE, French and Japanese, etc.] who have different schedules for examinations, external assessment dates and other similar commitments ”
"Some schools offer a dual curriculum and need this flexibility as much as others," Darwish said, emphasising that such a landscape demands flexibility and understanding from authorities.
Unification did not take place for the 2012/13 academic year with schools continuing to apply to the UAE's education regulators for dates fitting with their academic calendars.
Interestingly the original unification story on GulfNews.com was tweeted over 400 times by concerned parents. The latest story has so far only been tweeted only 33 times, suggesting a healthy level of skepticism over this latest announcement.