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Dubai schools afraid of what Valentine’s might bring?

Dubai Schools want to avoid last year's nightmare?

Allegedly, some Dubai-based schools are considering learning from the 'nightmare' that was last year's Valentine's and either shutting down the school tomorrow, filling it up with parent-teacher meetings or cutting the day short.

February 13, 2013 2:12 by

I cannot say with any degree of confidence that we incessantly seek out things to hate but with every social issue, there is almost always a clear divide of lovers and haters with patches of grey in between. Naturally, that brings us to Valentine’s Day here in the UAE.

It’s been the hot topic all week (globally) and is displaying no symptoms of dying down. Naturally, after Thursday it will pass like a flu bug out of our system but until then, it still has an impact and we have to tolerate reading about a AED 100,000 Valentine’s date that we can’t afford. There are endless reasons to disapprove of this Hallmark holiday, one of them funnily enough being Hallmark. But seriously, the most common expressions used by opposers of this lovey-dovey occasion usually involve terms like ‘meaningless’, ‘commercialised’ and ‘fake’. They hate it because of the impact it drags along and judging by a local article this afternoon, that impact has gone further than we may have predicted.

Evidently, a handful of schools in Dubai are considering ‘learning from the nightmare’ that was last year’s Valentine’s and either shutting down the school tomorrow, filling it up with parent-teacher meetings or cutting the day short. Why? Prevention of public display of affection is better than the cure.

Kipp has no dog in this fight, and as long as parents support the idea – which the article seems to indicate they do – then there’s no reason why it should be a problem. On the other hand, the news is shrouded in mystery. No school names are mentioned, supporting parents are anonymous and when Kipp contacted the Knowledge and Human Development Authority several times this morning, we were told repeatedly that no school is simply allowed to declare a holiday for the day without the authority’s consent.

Normally, each school in the country must submit their academic calendars for approval before the year kicks off. And although we were told that in some instances, the school can apply for a closure a ‘month or so’ in advance, it seems the KHDA is unaware of anything of the sort happening tomorrow.

“I thought it was silly to keep the school closed but after speaking with a high school parent, I believe it’s not that bad an idea,” said one anonymous parent about another.

Surely, not all parents can support this idea. There must a considerable amount of objection to children missing an entire day of school because of the prediction that a PDA epidemic will dominate the campus. It will be interesting to see how this temporary closure – if it indeed is happening – pans out because all it takes is for one parent to complain.

Of course, there is always the chance that the school did in fact seek out prior permission from the authority – in which case Kipp can only wonder why they are so adamant about staying anonymous.

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