Tuesday, May 31, 2011

School's out for summer

School children in Sharjah are subject to shorter school days to account for the summer heat.  It's another example of that topsy turviness of life here.  It reminds me of when we used to get time off school during very heavy snow when various creaking central heating systems gave up the ghost.

There seems to be a row between the education authority and the Federal Government about whether or not this should go ahead.  The FG is quoted in today's National saying that any decision about shorter days at government schools has to be agreed at Federal level.  The education authority has probably quite correctly decided that term will be over before the FG gets round to making a decision, so the shorter days will start today with two fingers up to the FG.

Teachers have cited poor concentration and heat-related sickness among children as reasons why they want to activate the shorter day policy.

The ever reliable BBC weather website tells me that it's going to be 39 today in Sharjah before rising to a toasty 46degrees tomorrow. 

There's received knowledge here that 50degrees is the threshold at which work shuts down, ie, builders have to stop along with any other outdoor labour.  There are mutterings among ex-pats that the equivalent of the Met Office just tells everyone it's 49degrees even if it goes over 50, so they have to keep working.  So, the Federal Government would have an interest in keeping the kids doing their full day. If they admit it's too much for the kids to concentrate, it's probably too much for the workers to carry on in the heat and that will have an impact on the economy. 

There have also been rumblings in the papers that the summer working rules should be brought in.  The heat, when it's really hot, is so unbearable that they have to bring in conditions that manual labourers, particularly those that work outside, should only work 20 minutes out of one hour and enforce a one hour break for lunch as opposed to the usual half hour.  I wonder what lengths the authorities will go to in order to avoid that.

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