The separate fires were started within 24-hours of each other last week and police, civil defence and the Ministry of Education are working together to identify the arsonists.

Dr Saeed Al Kabi, chairman of the Sharjah Educational Council, said the first fire was thought to be an accident but, following the second one, they began to suspect the blazes were intentional.

Both fires were started in restrooms and spread to the school prayer room.

Pupils and staff who suffered smoke inhalation were taken to hospital.

“A delegation from the Sharjah education council visited them and ensured that they were in good health conditions,” said Mr Al Kabi, who also said the council is following up on the police investigation.

“If the investigations confirmed that the fires were started by pupils, the issue will not be taken lightly,” he said.

School staff members said they managed to control the fire with the help of some pupils before firefighters arrived.

Hassan Elhais, a legal consultant from Al Rowad Advocates, said that as per the UAE penal code, the culprits can face criminal charges of starting the fire and damaging property.

“The article 304 states, that those who start fire deliberately in buildings, factories, workshops, stores, inhabited or uninhabited buildings are to be punished with prison not less than seven years” said Mr Elhais.

“Since the pupils are below the age of 18, and as per the Juveniles federal law number 9 for the year 1976, if they were convicted of the crime, they will face half the term stated for this crime.”