Nine UAE universities join initiative to boost online education - Gulf Business
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Nine UAE universities join initiative to boost online education

Nine UAE universities join initiative to boost online education

Programme is led by UAE Ministry of Education and the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education

Nine UAE universities have joined the University Consortium for Quality Online Learning (UCQOL), an initiative of the UAE Ministry of Education and the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE).

UCQOL aims to support UAE universities to strengthen their online programs and make them accessible to a larger pool of students in the country and beyond.

The American University of Dubai, American University of Sharjah, British University of Dubai, Khalifa University, New York University Abu Dhabi, UAE University, University of Dubai, University of Sharjah, and Zayed University signed MoUs to enlist in the programme on Tuesday.

The universities will now undertake a needs assessment to identify their capabilities to develop online courses and degree programs. The assessment will be completed in early 2021, after which each university will receive a report to guide their capacity building, as well as program design and delivery journey in the next phase of the project.

Read: Kuwait picks Microsoft Teams for national online education platform

Subsequently, the universities will have access to training of faculty, instructional designers, and other staff to inform the design and development process of online programs. Other activities will include workshops on the best practices in online learning, a workshop on the accreditation process of online learning, AGFE grants to provide additional support to select universities in developing their programs, among other support programmes.

“With this step, we inaugurate a new phase of fruitful cooperation in the higher education sector through MoUs that will have a prominent impact on the quality of learning provided by an elite of our universities. This partnership is of exceptional importance as the private sector is a strategic partner in this project, represented by the Abdullah Al Ghurair Foundation for Education,” said Dr. Muhammad Al Mualla, undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Academic Affairs.

The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education has been involved in promoting online learning in the Arab region since 2016. Through the Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars Program (OLSP), it has provided over 370 scholarships to Arab Youth to complete postgraduate degrees and credentials at Arizona State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology online (MITx).

“The launch of UCQOL underlines the foundation’s social responsibility to make quality online learning more accessible for students, and to support the vision of the UAE’s leadership to build a knowledge-based economy,” said Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, chairman of AGFE.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has further highlighted the need to activate innovative learning platforms that can help harness the full potential of our young talents,” he added.

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