Tens of thousands of schoolteachers throughout the United Kingdom have been asked by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) to adapt their curricula to better accommodate Muslim students by moving exams and other stressful activities to days that do not coincide with Ramadan.
In a pamphlet distributed to many of the 18,000 educators that it represents, the ACSL called on schools to mold their schedules around Muslim holidays and to take Muslim students’ faith into consideration when planning things like physical education lesson plans, as Muslims are prohibited from eating and drinking during the day in the month of Ramadan.
“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,” the pamphlet notes, according to MailOnline.
The organization also warns educators against offending fasting Muslim students by offering them “tiny sips of water” while they are taking their exams and encourages teachers to instead only offer water if it seems medically necessary.
“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 pamphlet reads.
While the document does not contain any guidelines for helping students of other faiths through the grueling exams, school officials are asked to ensure that testing facilities have adequate prayer rooms and to confer with Muslim students to determine whether they want to have their lessons in the morning or the afternoon.
All Muslims who have reached puberty are required to observe Ramadan, although exceptions are made in the case of women on their period and those who are ill or suffering from other “hardships.”