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Teachers and parents in Oman call for early start of exams to beat the summer heat  

8 Jun 2024 Teachers and parents in Oman call for early start of exams to beat the summer heat

Muscat – As the sultanate grapples with soaring temperatures, reaching near the critical 50°C mark, there is growing concern among educators and parents over the timing of examinations in Omani schools for grades five to 12. The current exam schedule, which typically spans from the end of May to June, coincides with some of the hottest days of the year, posing significant challenges for students.

Muscat Daily spoke with several teachers and parents for their perspectives on the matter.

Ali al Shayadi, a teacher in Suwaiq, emphasised the significant impact of high temperatures on students’ performance. He noted that rising heat during exam season adds to students’ stress and fatigue, making it difficult for them to concentrate.

Shayadi suggested reconsidering the timing of exams; conducting these in the beginning of May could alleviate these challenges.

Parents echoed these views, noting the adverse effects of heat on their children’s concentration and overall well-being during exams. Nasser al Hosani, a parent, voiced concern over the ability of his child, who is in grade ten, to cope with the demanding exam schedule during the hottest part of the year, particularly when facing multiple exams in a day. He recommended shifting the exams to cooler months to ensure students are comfortable and can give their best performance.

The situation is particularly difficult for students like Mohammed Talib’s son, who highlighted the fact that his son has two papers – English and social studies – on Sunday, making it extremely difficult for his son to focus on both in this heat. 

Similarly, Umm al Zahraa, a parent with a child in grade six, expressed her hope for exams to be rescheduled to the beginning of May, a time when temperatures are generally bearable. She stressed the need to consider the adverse effects of extreme heat on students’ ability to perform well in exams.

Drawing on his extensive experience to underscore the importance of strategic planning for exam timings, Abdul Hadi Mustafa, a veteran educator, suggested starting exams in May, and consequently beginning the academic year earlier from the middle of August to provide students with ample preparation time while avoiding the peak summer heat.

Supporting these recommendations, Adarsh Joy, a Logistics Manager, and Seena Lijoys, a homemaker, stressed the need of a reevaluation of the current schedules to prioritise student health and academic success. Both parents proposed adjustments that would minimise students’ exposure to heat, such as conducting exams earlier in the day and even adopting online classes during extreme weather conditions.

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