The UAE’s Ministry of Education has said that any decision for the academic year 2020-2021, slated to begin in September, is still under review and will be taken based on the health situation and precautionary measures, reported official news agency WAM.
The statement comes at a time when local media reports have indicated that e-learning, currently in place across schools and universities across the country as a result of the Covid-19 precautionary measures, will continue into the next academic year as well.
The education ministry said that the distance learning system for all educational levels will remain effective until the end of the current academic year in line with a previous decision.
Fawzia Gharib, assistant undersecretary of the ministry for the school operations sector, told a Ramadan virtual majlis organised by the Khalifa Education Award on Friday in a session titled Distance Education, Vision and Future Trends that there were three scenarios of e-learning devised for the next academic year, reported Gulf News.
The first scenario is the continuation of the Covid-19 pandemic, where e-learning will remain 100 per cent of the education process.
The second scenario is a transitional phase after the virus has disappeared and the country makes a gradual recovery. Here, direct education will return at a rate ranging between 30-50 per cent.
The third scenario meanwhile is planned in the event that life returns to normal and this plan includes the incorporation of both direct and distance learning, but this will be done in proportion of 70 per cent direct education and 30 per cent e-learning so that ‘technological development and the transition to digital education can be maintained.
On March 30, the UAE said that it had decided to extend the e-learning programme in all educational facilities that had begun on March 22 until the end of the academic year in June.
In April, the ministry tested an electronic exam system for public schools to cover mathematics for grades 5-12. A total of two 30-minute sessions were held on April 13.
Last week, the ministry also extended the deadline for receiving applications to government higher education institutions and external scholarships for the 2020-2021 semester from April 30 to May 16, 2020, in a move to safeguard the future of Grade 12 students.