The UAE government on Monday has decided to extend the e-learning programme currently underway in all educational facilities across the country until the end of the academic year in June.
The UAE government’s communication office tweeted on Monday: “Under the guidance of the Council of Ministers, the implementation of the distance education system will continue until the end of the current academic year 2019-2020 in all public and private schools and higher education institutions in the country.”
Under the directives of the #UAE Cabinet, the implementation of the distance learning system will continue throughout the 2019-2020 academic year at all private & public schools and higher education institutions in the UAE.
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) March 30, 2020
Dr. Amna Al-Dahhak, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education (MoE) said: “The decision comes with the aim of ensuring the continuity of education in the country under exceptional circumstances, while maintaining the security and safety of our students and the school community.”
The UAE had already closed all public and private schools, universities and nurseries across the country for four weeks starting from March 8 as a precautionary measure against the Covid-19 pandemic during which it undertook a complete sterilisation drive of the educational facilities.
The first two weeks of the closure starting March 8 comprised of the spring break holiday for all students.
Starting from March 22, all schools and colleges initiated a remote learning programme for students.
They were expected to resume school on April 5, but this announcement means that the earliest students will resume regular attendance at their schools will be post the summer vacation.
Dr Amna added that the ministry was constantly working to “improve the distance learning programmes and to further develop it by adding smart solutions and interactive applications for the various levels of study.”
The ministry said that it would add smart applications and solutions for the educational system such as the Alef platform and Alex platform specialising in mathematics for the upper levels, the Matvak platform for early childhood stages, and the Nahla and Nahil platform specialised in raising Arabic reading skills.
With regards to the examinations the ministry hasn’t yet confirmed its plans, though Dr Amna said, “The evaluation and examination mechanisms are currently being updated and developed for all educational systems in the country for the current academic year.”
The spokesperson added that the MoE has rescheduled the study plan on the basis of a questionnaire it sent to over 185,000 students and parents and which will be activated beginning from next Wednesday, April 8.
“The Ministry of Education regularly organizes counseling sessions for parents about the applications used in the distance education system to enable them to support their children during the coming period. Our responsibility today as parents is to provide the appropriate educational environment for our children at home, and to encourage them to commit to and continue their distance education,” said Dr Amna.
UAE telecom regulator Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has also shared a list of additional applications to facilitate distance learning programmes across the country, it announced on March 30.