By Joseph Varghese
All private schools in the country can schedule their winter vacation according to their convenience, a senior official of the Supreme Education Council (SEC) has said.
This assurance comes a major relief for many parents, as they are struggling to adjust their annual vacation with the school vacation schedule of their children.
Speaking to Gulf Times, Hamad Mohamed al-Ghali, director of Private School at SEC, clarified that there was no directive from SEC to discontinue winter vacation.
Of late, several schools had stopped the existing practice of winter vacation for the students, causing great difficulty for parents. Many parents had opined that a winter vacation, lasting for three to four weeks was a great convenience for them to travel home.
Most of the Indian schools in the country used to have three weeks to one month winter vacation until two years ago. This was a great boon for many parents. This also used to help in reducing the summer travel rush. But, from last year, the situation changed with all the Indian schools discontinuing the winter vacation.
Al- Ghali explained that the government has decided to have a spring break for all schools from January 25 to February 5. We have asked all schools to follow it. They can give a break for two weeks or for a week, according to their convenience.”
The official reiterated that “Other than this, SEC has not interfered with any other aspects of the school schedule. Private schools are free to decide on a winter break according to their convenience.”
"However, the opening date, at the beginning of the academic year, is binding to all the schools in the country. This decision has been taken by the government of Qatar and cannot be changed. Therefore, all the schools have to be opened on the date, stipulated by the SEC.”
This year, many parents were disappointed as the schools had stopped the practice of winter break. Several of them had approached schools and got the answer that winter vacation was postponed to January–February. This has upset the holiday plans of several of them.
Some parents had pointed out that a summer and winter break would facilitate better travelling facilities for them. One of them said: “It may not be possible to get leave for all the employees of an organisation during summer. A winter vacation can solve this problem as people can opt for either summer or winter leave as it used to be earlier.”
Another parent noted that a winter break will also reduce the air fare. "There is heavy rush in summer and the air fares are very high. If there is another vacation slot in winter, naturally, the travel will get divided which will bring the air fares down."