UAE - Parents who are not comfortable sending their children to Dubai schools in the new academic year can opt for their wards to continue distance learning. Students were earlier required to receive some form of in-class learning once classes resume from August 30.
In a recent circular sent to school principals, Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) said: “While face-to-face learning remains the preferred education model, we understand that different parents have different views, especially in the first phases of re-opening. As a temporary measure, schools can and should provide 100 per cent distance learning provision in the new academic year to parents who request it. This is intended to help ease parents and children into an eventual return to face-to-face learning.”
The previous school term in the UAE was also carried out through distance learning in a bid to limit the coronavirus outbreak.
The confirmation comes after Abu Dhabi's Department of Education and Knowledge in Abu Dhabi (ADEK) allowed its schools to opt for distance learning during the upcoming school term.
Blended learning model will offer multiple options: Schools
Head teachers in Dubai explained their readiness “on all fronts”. Matthew Tompkins, Principal/CEO, GEMS FirstPoint School – The Villa, said: “We will be offering 100 per cent on-site education to all year groups in a blended learning scenario. In line with the KHDA directives, we will also be offering a 100 per cent distance learning option for all children and students for those parents and families who request it.
“We understand that some parents prefer to keep their children at home for a little longer and we will fully support these families. We will ensure their curriculum is in line with that of the children in school. And whatever option families choose, both will have the same learning commitment every day.”
Mohammad Ali Kottakkulam, Principal, Gulf Indian High School Dubai, called the move a “welcome step”. “Some parents of students in lower grades had requested for continuation of smart learning due to safety concerns. We can assure that all safety measures are in place at our school and buses as required as per the protocol. But we also want to ensure the confidence of parents in sending their wards to school in a safe environment.”
Punit MK Vasu, CEO, The Indian High Group of Schools, said: they will offer “all our learners an opportunity to choose what mode they prefer as per their individual needs and specific requirements”.
Many educators expressed their inclination to open schools and restart campus learning but underlined they respected the government decision.
Alan Williamson, CEO, Taaleem, said: “We know from feedback that the vast majority of Taaleem parents will welcome the news of a return to an onsite resumption of education. However, our schools will offer distance learning to children who are unwell, unable to come into school or for whom their parents would prefer them to stay at home.”
No limit to number of kids who can opt for e-learning
Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO-Principal of Credence High School, said the school would follow a “blended learning approach” where parents are given the option to choose the mode they want for their kids. “Parents have been given the complete freedom in opting the method of learning as per their convenience and we will honour whatever the parent chooses. There is no limit to the number of students that can opt for e-learning.”
There wouldn’t be any difference when it comes to quality of education offered, Shaadi Hasan, head of administration and academic support, BEAM schools, said. “It will include quality live lessons and a number of pre-recorded sessions and online resources for students to review independently.”
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