A recent UAE study looked into the effectiveness of a three-day weekend for students. Schools involved in the research showed improvements in their academics and social skills.
The Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) conducted the study. It assessed the effect of the Government of Sharjah’s move to execute a four-day workweek. It was also done with help from 31,198 families. The student’s families were a mix of 70 different nationalities. The study also involved 127 schools and 7,000 teachers and administrators.
SPEA Director Ali Al Hosani gave a brief summary of the study’s results. He said their research showed a 77% increase in the student’s academic achievements. There was also a 78% improvement in the student’s social skills. They were interacting better with their peers. The research noted the change in school hours adhered to international education standards.
The research on the three-day weekend showed problem–solving skills were up by 74%. Their time management abilities also rose by 73%.
Teachers were happy to see a 78% improvement in students’ performance. Especially on their assignments. Another plus was the 88% rise in quality time students spent with their families.
Students who took part in the survey said the four-day week taught them how to manage their lives. They can balance their school and home life better. One student pointed out they had very little time to spend with their families due to school tasks. The three-day weekend lets students allot a day to finish their schoolwork. The other two days are then dedicated to their families. They also have time to pursue extracurricular activities. The longer time off means they can also dedicate some time to pray, reflect, and go to the mosque.
Private schools had to make adjustments though. Administrators admitted they had to lengthen the school day. The slight increase is to make sure they finish the curriculum. But the longer school hours still have benefits.
Principal James McDonald said the extended school hours complemented the parents’ work hours. This made it easier to manage schedules. The GEMS Wesgreen International School head said the extra day was good. It meant students are well rested by the time they return to school. Teachers have noted that students come back from a long weekend energized and ready to study.
The shorter work week benefited teachers as well. Principal McDonald admitted their staff was busy during the week. But they were also more productive. They met their deliverables. They were able to provide higher-quality teaching. They also finished student progress reports faster. He said the Sharjah four-day workweek helped with their well-being.