Ramadan and School Schedules:
Survey Results from 63 School Leaders
With Ramadan creeping into the end of the school year, questions about how Islamic schools are accommodating or modifying their daily schedules come into many educators’ minds.
Mohamed Salah Ahmed, Head of School of Al Salam Day School in Manchester, MO asked his fellow Islamic school leaders to answer a survey to find out just how many schools are making modifications.
Reasons for Not Adjusting
Our students are ages 3 to 6, thus we do not need to accommodate them for exams, P.E., etc., since they will not be fasting. A change in school schedule might also create some inconvenience for working parents whose work schedules will remain the same. Kindergartenrrs get bus service from our public school district, and those timings could not change.
We have to break out of the mindset that we do less in Ramadan with the excuse that we are fasting. Ramadan is not the month of laziness, but rather the month of exerting ourselves and doing more good deeds, more work, be more productive, and accomplish more! If we get our students used to doing less in Ramadan, they will expect that for the rest of their lives.
Reasons for Adjusting
Those that explained why they do adjust their schedules highlighted their effort to make it easier to participate in tarawih, particularly during the summer months when Isha is so late.
We accommodate for Ramadan by starting the school year early. We have already completed our curriculum and standardized testing. Last year we were able to end our school year by May 15th, a day before ramadan started. This year we have 2 weeks of Ramadan before school ends. I have seen the adjusted school schedule working very well 20 years ago when Ramadan was in the school year.
Adjusting without changing start/end times
At Toledo Islamic Academy we do not dismiss early or have a late start. We shorten classes for middle and high school students so they have time in the middle and the end of the day to finish any homework or to study for a test or to read Quran. Parents in the past shared concern with me that when students go home they are tired and they go to sleep until Iftar– So students do not have time to do any school work at home during Ramadan.
Also, it is inconvenient for the working parents to change the schedule. As for the teachers, they are free to go home immediately after students are gone. With the Maghrib time being late we can do that but may be when Maghrib time becomes much earlier we can think of some other alternative.