UAE is the most prepared country for e-learning in the world, says Mohammed bin Rashid after attending first day of distance learning

Photo: WAM

As schools and universities across the country started the first day of distance learning on Sunday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said, "Schools are closed, but education will never stop. The UAE is the most well-equipped nation for smart learning."

Attending a virtual class offered by UAE teacher Amal Nasser Zaid on the first remote school day, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum reaffirmed that the educational process across the UAE schools will continue with the highest degree of efficiency as the world faces global coronavirus, Covid-19, outbreak that prevented over half of the world’s student population from going to school.

He said, "Learning continues at a distance, and from anywhere, because education is the main driver of the development of nations."

In a message to students, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said, "Never stop learning. Education shapes life and whoever stops learning, stops living." He added, "We heavily invested in smart learning over the past decade, and today, we are witnessing the fruitful results."

He noted, "the UAE has one of the most advanced digital infrastructures in the world and the region’s best smart learning systems. Our growth and progress have no limit." He said, "We are facing a new challenge in our journey of development and we will overcome it like we did with previous challenges. We will emerge even stronger because we collectively believe that the word impossible does not exist in the UAE’s dictionary."

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum extended his appreciation to teachers and educators who are ensuring the continuity of education despite challenges. He also thanked people in administrative and technical roles for their efforts in facilitating the student learning process.

The UAE Ministry of Education rolled out distance learning in public and private schools and universities across the country starting on Sunday after earlier announcing an early four-week spring break for students, allocating the last two weeks to distance learning to ensure the continuity of the educational process at home.

More than 1.2 million school and university students across the country joined virtual classrooms on Sunday to continue their lessons with the support of teachers and educators. The Ministry of Education provided necessary technical and logistical support to ensure smooth implementation of the distance learning system. As part of the preparation for the digital transition, the ministry worked closely with teachers and coordinated with parents and students to ensure a successful learning experience.

The ministry announced the training of more than 25,000 public school teachers and over 9,200 private school teachers to certify them for distance learning. The teachers were trained to become efficient online tutors capable of supporting students to adjust to the new learning model and overcome gaps in the learning process.

Private schools were instructed to adopt distance learning through implementing their own platforms that match the regulations of the Ministry of Education and meet the distance learning strategy. The ministry allocated committees to follow up the implementation in private schools and ensure commitment to the stated frameworks.

To ensure a smooth learning experience, the ministry has also set up two advanced operation centers equipped with smart screens and technologies to follow up the distance learning model in schools across the country. Operators will ensure proper technical resources are harnessed to facilitate the learning process and support teachers.

The ministry also formed round-the-clock support teams to address any emerging challenges that can face students and teachers using the digital educational platforms and provide technical solutions.

The UAE has focused its efforts on developing the most advanced smart learning systems in the region. Besides the Ministry of Education’s smart learning portals, Madrasa e-learning platform, launched in 2018 under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, is the biggest of its kind in the Arab world to provide more than 5,000 free Arabized educational videos in general science, math, biology, chemistry and physics, besides its newly-launched Arabic language lessons for 50 million Arab students from kindergarten to grade 12.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, has recently recommended Madrasa e-learning platform as among the global powerful digital learning solutions that can help students continue their education in Arabic amid the worldwide school closures due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

The UNESCO pointed to Madrasa’s wide reach, strong user-base and evidence of impact that can facilitate student learning, help teachers and provide social support and interaction during the period of school closures.

According to UNESCO report, more than 850 million young people, about half world’s student population, have been barred from school and university due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that caused school closures in over 100 countries with more closures expected. UNESCO said countries worldwide are rushing to fill the void by offering real-time digital classes and other high-tech solutions. Some countries are offering classes over television or radio.

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