The UAE’s academic year will restart on August 30, according to a statement by the country’s Minister of Education Hussain ibn Ibrahim al-Hammadi reported by the official Emirates News Agency (WAM). The decision does not specify whether students will return to school premises or if education will be conducted through distancing learning, or a combination of the two.
Schools in the country closed in early March under measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 275 people in the UAE. After a several week break for Easter, education authorities implemented a distance learning system in which students make use of online resources to study from home.
“Education remains a top priority and national objective, and therefore our leadership has directed to apply the distance education system under the current circumstances so that our students won’t lose track and miss one single day from their academic year,” said the minister, according to WAM.
Teachers and school administrative staff will begin working on August 23, a week before students begin their year.
Al-Hammadi added that the success of the distance learning program was due to UAE leaders’ “forward-thinking policy” and the commitment of students and parents, reported WAM.
An image of a #Saudi Arabian boy studying via his laptop in a remote area has surfaced on Twitter, showing the Kingdom’s distance learning program in action during the #coronavirus pandemic.https://t.co/MMZmDhmoft pic.twitter.com/SiBmV0moym— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) April 19, 2020
Distance learning could be new norm
Globally, other countries are weighing up whether to reopen schools as lockdowns ease.
In neighboring Saudi Arabia, Minister of Education Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh said previously that the Kingdom was considering distance learning as a strategic choice beyond coronavirus.
“Electronic learning after the coronavirus crisis will not be the same as it was before especially with the accelerated global trend towards e-learning and its technologies as a future option, and not just an alternative during exceptional circumstances,” Al Al-Sheikh was quoted as saying by the Saudi Press Agency in April.
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