Coronavirus: UAE gives university students studying abroad ‘exceptions to attendance’

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The UAE’s Ministry of Education set up an “exception to attendance” policy for students who are still enrolled in universities abroad, amid travel restrictions and lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Pursuant to this mechanism, the students' applications for exceptions to academic attendance in those universities due to the COVID-19 should be submitted following the end of the academic year not after the academic semester, via the email: [email protected],” the ministry said according to state news agency WAM.


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To complete the process, the university students have to enclose a message detailing the reasons for the required exceptions and include an official message from the university where they are currently enrolled in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The student's score reports for the academic years spent in the host countries and the duration of each academic year should also be attached in addition to an entry and exit report of the student from the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship,” WAM added in its report.

The Ministry of Education had announced on June 8 that the upcoming academic year will start on August 30, but it did not specify whether students would return to classrooms or continue the distance learning initiative.

As part of the UAE’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Education had shut down all public and private schools and higher education institutions across the country.

The spring vacation, initially scheduled to start on March 29, started March 8, and a pilot program for distance education was implemented during the last weeks of the vacation to ensure education continuity and to avoid any impact on school days.

Travel in and out of the country was also suspended on March 23 as part of the efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, and the government called on all of its citizens abroad to return to the UAE.

It is currently unclear when all government restrictions on air travel will be lifted.

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