(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Tue 28 Mar 2023, 6:00 AM
Some Indian curriculum schools that will reopen next week for the new academic year are incorporating curriculum enrichment programmes to blend in the spirit of Ramadan.
Donations are also being made in certain schools for support staff, to facilitate Umrah for those undertaking the pilgrimage.
Some head teachers said institutions are enveloped with a 'positive atmosphere' everywhere as the holy month of Ramadan is embraced with much enthusiasm every year, with counselling services being provided in the schools as well.
Nargish Khambatta, principal of GEMS Modern Academy and senior vice-president at GEMS Education, said:“We understand and appreciate the significance of Ramadan for our Muslim students, and we strive to create a welcoming and supportive environment for them during this holy month. As such, we have implemented a range of measures to ensure their comfort and well-being. We provide ample opportunities for our students to rest, pray, and participate in physical activities as needed.
“Furthermore, we recognise the importance of extracurricular activities and academic support for our students, even during Ramadan. To that end, we have made sure that our Integrated Curriculum Enrichment programme continues online for one hour each day, allowing our students to access these valuable resources and stay on track with their studies. We also offer counselling services and support for those who may need extra assistance, and we encourage them to reach out to us if they have any concerns or questions.” Umrah packages for support staff
Several institutions are looking to organise donation drives to collect non-perishable items and encouraging their peers to donate generously. Care packages will also be distributed to show appreciation of the hard work of the non-teaching staff.
“In the spirit of generosity and community, the school has a number of traditions and events that celebrate Ramadan and bring people together. One such tradition is the annual Umrah package for support staff, which is made possible by the contributions of well-wishers. This year, eight staff members, including STS drivers, were identified and received full patronage for their Umrah pilgrimage. One of the drivers even took their child with them on this special journey. It's heartwarming to see the school community come together to support each other in this way. Another event that brings people together during Ramadan is the school's annual Iftar. This is a wonderful opportunity for staff, students and parents to gather and end their fast together,” added Khambatta.
Fatima Martin, principal of GEMS New Millennium School – Al Khail, said:“We have planned a series of seven webinars, called Starry Nights, featuring seven Muslim scholars. They will be speaking to our families on various topics that enlighten the significance of Ramadan, inspiring and educating us all.”
Meanwhile, schools that reopen next week will continue with the Ramadan operating hours that will not exceed five hours per day, as stipulated by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Students get a chance to engage in community activities
Principals across schools reiterated that children would have the choice to use some of the school's quiet and reflective areas during break time.
Pupils will also be encouraged to engage in community outreach activities through the rest of the holy month.
“This includes collecting dry food and perishable foods through initiatives such as The Ramadan Rizq and The Ramadan Fridge. Through these initiatives, our students will learn about the importance of helping those in need, and the joy that comes from giving back to the community. In addition, our students will engage in Islamic Art to portray their love for UAE's traditions and culture. This will provide them with a unique opportunity to express themselves creatively, while also learning about the rich cultural heritage of the UAE,” added Martin.
Other international curricula schools that will reopen on April 10 after the spring break are also looking to organise similar charity initiatives.
Emma Shanahan, principal, Aspen Heights British School said:“Many children are fasting for the very first time, and families have been very helpful in completing our 'fasting form' so we are fully aware of the students who are fasting and can support them appropriately. We have a full programme of activities planned for the time students are in school. There is an Aspen 'Kindness Calendar' for children, encouraging them to complete kind tasks every day. Our entire community will come together for a community Iftar in the penultimate week of Ramadan. During the Iftar, children will be running craft stalls and our UAE National Student Ambassadors are planning an exciting quiz for all to participate in.”
Neal Oates, principal, Star International School, Mirdif, opined:“We are also looking forward to having our families at school for a community Iftar so that we can mark the occasion of Ramadan together.”