Is the four-day school week effective?

Sharjah schools switched to a four-day working week in 2022. Education Middle East finds out from UAE school principals the potential benefits and challenges of adopting a similar model across the UAE

Hundreds of schools around the US have adopted a four-day week in recent years. Back home Sharjah announced in 2022 that all its schools would switch to a four-day working week following a similar move by the UAE federal government for all its employees.  

Following the implementation of the four-day working week, the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) conducted a study to assess the productivity and standard of living in Sharjah’s educational community. The study was conducted on the basis of a survey, which was filled out by more than 7,000 educational and administrative staff and about 31,000 families from 70 nationalities. Children from these families attend 127 private schools in Sharjah, which have a capacity of more than 184,000 female and male students. 

Interestingly, the study found that having a three-day weekend enhances productivity, time management and quality learning outcomes. The key findings of the study reveal a 90% improvement in work-life balance and a 78% enhancement in students’ social skills and relationships. Furthermore, administrators and teachers showed an 88% increase in motivation, and student academic achievements surged by 77%. Additionally, the productivity of both administrators and teachers experienced an 86% increase. 

Meanwhile, there have been discussions on whether the model should be replicated across the UAE. Education Middle East speaks to principals from Sharjah schools and other emirates to find out their views on adopting a similar model and the benefits and challenges of a three-day weekend.  

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