Distance learning amid coronavirus to help school dropouts in Saudi Arabia: Minister

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The experience gained in providing distance learning during the coronavirus outbreak in Saudi Arabia will help address the issue of school dropouts in the Kingdom in the long run, Saudi Minister of Education Hamad bin Mohammed al-Sheikh said on Thursday.

He said Saudi Arabia had started providing distance education services years ago, but the systems were modernized recently to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

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Distance learning in Saudi Arabia now has 20 live broadcast channels from iEN education portal and educational content is now available through different social media platforms for various Saudi universities.

“These systems will continue to work even after the crisis to address the problems of school dropouts,” al-Sheikh said during a virtual conference for the ministers of education in the Islamic world held by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO).

The Minister had also discussed on Wednesday with heads of universities in the Kingdom setting the university acceptance requirements for the coming academic year in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saudi Arabia had suspended in-attendance education activities in all schools, universities and educational institutions starting from March 9 until further notice and directed all educational institutions to implement distance learning through online platforms.

The Ministry of Education had said in early May that at least 1.4 million university students in the Kingdom were able to take over 223,000 exams remotely.

It had also announced mid-April that it would advance all students, kindergarten to high school, to the next grade and take the first semester’s results as the results for the second semester.

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