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Sheikh Mohammed launches digital school initiative aiming to reach a million students in five years

Sheikh Mohammed launches digital school initiative aiming to reach a million students in five years

The initiative will mainly cater to students who do not have easy access to formal education

Digital school Dubai

A new Digital School initiative was launched in Dubai on Wednesday, which aims to provide certified online education specifically for students who do not have easy access to formal education.

Launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the school – the first of its kind in the Arab region – will provide a personalised and flexible remote learning experience to students anywhere in the world, official news agency WAM reported.

Created primarily to empower refugees and underserved students, the digital school will cater to young people irrespective of their social, economic and educational backgrounds.

The school will blend live and self-paced virtual classes in Maths, Science, Arabic, Computer Studies and English powered by interactive simulation, game-based learning, and AI-driven adaptive learning modules.

Teachers will be selected based on their research, interpersonal, organisational and leadership skills, creativity, initiative and affinity for working with young people, a statement said.

Virtual classrooms will enable students to interact with their teachers and fellow learners from all over the world and receive a “globally-recognised” school certificate or credentials that will enable them to complete their university education or apply for jobs.

It aims to reach one million students in its first five years, the statement added.

digital school Dubai

The initiative, part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI), will be overseen by the ‘Alliance for the Future of Digital Learning’ that brings together specialised education and technology experts from all over the world.

The alliance’s advisory board features experts from leading global universities including Harvard, Stanford, New York and MIT.

“We aim to provide students, especially those living in refugee camps, war zones and disadvantaged communities, with the highest quality of education in the best way possible,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“Digital education is the future. We need to adapt to the rapidly-changing educational sphere. Our contribution to developing educational platforms is our real investment in the future of young people.”

First phase

In its initial phase, the digital school will operate from November 2020 to August 2021 with 20,000 participating students in four countries, featuring three virtual classes a week over three months.

The system will be further developed based on feedback and a research and development process.

After adjustments are made to the system, the school will officially receive its first batch of students in September 2021 for the academic year 2021-2022.

The school will seek digital learning accreditation from leading bodies such as Cognia, a non-profit organisation that accredits schools through the United States and internationally. It will coordinate with education ministries and relevant entities in the region to establish an accreditation model for digital education and provide curricula aligned with the national education system.

The digital credentials provided will be globally transferable, the statement said.

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