How to support staff and students during Ramadan

There are many ways that you as an education professional can support colleagues and students during Ramadan (the month of fasting). 

During Ramadan, Muslims who are healthy/able abstain from food and drink, including water, from early morning until the breaking of fast (Iftar) at sunset. In 2024, it will be from 10 March to 9 April, but exact dates may vary. 

Go Higher West Yorkshire’s (GHWY) Black Asian and Minoritised Ethnic Students Network, which discusses common themes, recently shared best practice on how Higher Education (HE) providers can support staff and students during the month of fasting.  

It is common practice for HE providers to take Ramadan into consideration for assessments and exams to support their students. This could be through avoiding or limiting exams and assessments during this time. Students can also ask for fasting to be taken into consideration for exams and assessments.  

Many staff are supported in Ramadan through flexible working. This could include not having meetings at 9am or 4pm, where possible, because colleagues may wish to start later or be flagging by 4pm. As such, you may not get the best from them. Staff may also want to take a longer lunch break to engage in Friday prayers and, generally, HE providers do endeavour to provide the time/space for this.  

In addition to this, there is specific good practice across our membership of 13 HE providers. Bradford College hold evening classes and so have an Iftar at its community hub/area for these students, which gives them the time and space to break their fast without missing learning. It uses the main hall for prayer facilities and has someone to lead prayers during Ramadan.  

The University of Huddersfield allows staff who observe Eid to have one or two additional days of leave on top of annual leave. It is also getting a student perspective to update their religious beliefs policy, and is looking to hold a Swap Shop to facilitate the exchange of Eid outfits. 

Leeds Trinity University encourages staff who have accrued Time Off In Lieu (TOIL) to use this during Ramadan. It allows student ambassadors to stay in hotels the night before events so they do not have make a long journey on the day. This maximises sleep as they will be up early for breakfast. It also allows students to claim expenses for buying breakfast the night before for the next day, as they will be having their breakfast before the hotel breakfast times. 

It is clear there are many ways you can support colleagues and students during Ramadan, whatever your role in education. This could be asking staff if they need any adjustments (e.g. later start time or work from home), or having a conversation with staff and students about leave for Eid, and managing this in line with your HE provider’s policies. You can also wish colleagues Ramadan Mubarak, which means blessed Ramadan.