British schools are being told to change the times of classes and consider rescheduling athletic events to ensure the needs of Muslim students fasting for Ramadan are met.
The new report, according to the MailOnline, advises schools to “show sensitivity” when planning graduation celebrations and to change physical education lesson plans to accommodate Muslim students, so they would be “less strenuous.”
This year, Ramadan falls at the end May and will continue for about one month—meaning this year’s school exams will coincide with the Muslim fasting.
During the annual celebration, the believers who are mature enough are instructed to abstain from food and any drink during sunlight hours.
That religious instruction means thousands of Muslim students will sit for their exams during summer having had little to eat or drink.
The report by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), which represents more than 18,000 head teachers and college leaders, suggests students fasting during the Ramadan shouldn’t stay up late praying during the exam period as “extra devotions in Ramadan are voluntary” while getting good exam results is “obligatory.”
“Inclusion specialist” Anna Cole, who authored the report, alerted students: “Young people should be made aware that Islam does not require them to put their futures in jeopardy.”
The paper advised that primary school-age children shouldn’t participate in Ramadan and issued a number of suggestions to school head teachers in order to “ease the pressure” on Muslim students.
In one recommendation, the organization suggests examiners should refrain from offering students to a “tiny sip of water” while sitting in warm exam rooms—unless there’s a concern that a Muslim student could suffer from dehydration.
“If a student taking an exam is showing any signs that they may be dehydrated, such as a headache or drowsiness, they should be advised to terminate the fast immediately by drinking some water,” the guidance read.
School staff is told to “inform pupils of the allowances Islam gives for them to break the fast and make it up later if they feel fasting will in any way jeopardize their performance..
In addition, schools are asked to ensure prayer rooms and ensure exam rooms are in the shade with fans and available water bottles.
The guidance also notes: “School and college leaders will also want to consider the possible impact fasting and late night prayers during Ramadan may have on Muslim children when setting dates for other activities, such as sports days, trips and celebrations.”