RIYADH (RAHNUMA): : Over 6 million students in Saudi Arabia on Sunday returned to their classrooms to continue their third and final academic semester after their 14-day Eid Al-Fitr school holiday.
According to the academic calendar, Saudi schools and universities will close for summer vacation on June 30 — a few days before this year’s Hajj season starts.
Last year, the Ministry of Education approved a three-semester educational scheme instead of the usual two. This was announced last May by Hamad Al-Sheikh, minister of education, who also said that students would return to in-person learning after COVID-19 restrictions were eased following a drop in the number of daily infections due to high vaccination rates.
In a press conference, the minister explained that each semester will consist of 13 weeks, with a seven-day break after each semester.
The Jeddah education department has issued a circular to all schools and kindergartens requiring them to shift to summer timing, with students attending the morning lineup at 7 a.m. and the first class beginning at 7:15 a.m.
Based on a recommendation by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, King Salman earlier announced that the Eid Al-Fitr school holiday would begin four days earlier than originally planned. The revised date applied to all school and university students.
This is the first time in 15 years that the Kingdom’s schools were open during Ramadan despite many calls by students and their parents to close schools during the holy month for the benefit of both students and teachers.
There are over 33,500 schools in Saudi Arabia, 29 state universities and 14 private universities, in addition to many specialized colleges and institutes.