All public and private schools that are not on the Asian curriculum will begin their academic year on September 9, the Ministry of Education said yesterday. Holidays will be aligned, too. Only Asian schools, which began the 2012 academic year in April, are exempt. All other institutions will have their pupils return on September 9, irrespective of the curricula followed. Teachers will return to work a week earlier, on September 2. A three-week vacation will mark the end of the first semester, beginning on December 16 and ending on January 3. At the end of the second semester, there will be a two-week break starting on March 31, with classes resuming on April 14. The 2013 summer holiday will begin on July 7. The unified calendar, announced via state news agency WAM, was ordered to ensure that family holidays were not disrupted by the differing school calendars implemented by various institutions before now. Abu Dhabi announced a unified calendar for all schools last year for the same reason. Providers there said they had applied for exemptions where necessary to accommodate their examination periods. Federal university heads say they have also adjusted their calendars, which follow a two-term system, to align them to the new academic year.