The Ministry of Education, MoE, has rolled out a distance learning system for two weeks, targeting all students in the UAE's schools and higher education institutions The move is in line with the earlier decision by the ministry to move forward the spring break and shut schools for four weeks, the last two weeks of which are devoted to resuming study through the distance learning system.
According to the timeline of the distance learning classes in government schools, 20 classes per week are held in the first cycle at three hours per day and two optional hours in the morning between 9:00 and 11:00 are devoted to activities. Evening classes are between 16:00 and 19:25.
As for the second cycle, 20 classes are held per week at four hours per day. Classes start at 9:00 and continue till 12:45 and an evening hour (between 17:00 and 17:50) is allocated for reading enrichment and a variety of exercises.
Some 30 hours per week at six hours per day are allotted to the third cycle, which includes two morning and evening sessions. Morning classes start at 9:00 and continue till 13:25, while the evening session begins at 17:00 and continues till 19:05.
As for the private schools that follow the ministry's curriculum and other curricula, the MoE has sent advisory plans in this connection, and it is left for them to implement the distance learning plan according to their approved timelines and as deemed suitable.
The ministry has completed all the procedures necessary to bring about positive cognitive outcomes through the distance learning system. This was done after the ministry ensured that the system was ready by conducting an experiment to measure the effectiveness of the initiative last week. The experiment was aimed at ensuring the use by all students of the smart learning platform and the high-quality of the system application for the first and second cycles and the secondary education/third cycle.
This step was important for qualifying students and ensuring that the system was effectively used easily and smoothly. Based on this, a plan was set by the school administrations for preparing an interactive programme between teachers and students of all grades and for all students.
The ministry also implemented remote specialist training for more than 25,000 government school teachers and administrators in addition to more than 9,200 private school teachers and principals. During the approved training week, the ministry focused on creating virtual learning communities aimed at enhancing the teacher's capabilities to remotely manage the education process and documenting the best practices to have an efficient learning process of high performance.
The MoE, in co-operation with the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, has also successfully qualified more than 67,000 affiliates who recently underwent e-training in distance learning through a free course titled 'Be an online tutor in 24 hours' that was launched online to provide the teaching and academic personnel of all levels from inside and outside the UAE with the skills of managing and operating online classrooms via the internet.
The MoE also instructed the private schools to implement the distance learning system with a view to ensuring the continuity of the learning process as per the mechanisms and plans approved in such circumstances. At the same time, the MoE allowed schools to use their own distance learning system and its multiple platforms and assigned monitoring and follow-up committees and teams to ensure the progress of the distance learning process in private schools.
To achieve the best performance and follow up the distance learning processes, the MoE has equipped two advanced operations ce with modern systems and screens, enabling the school operations sector to monitor the learning process. This is aimed at ensuring smooth dealing with the information technology resources and effective communication between students and teachers. To ensure efficient educational processes, the MoE opened an operations center at the Emirati School building in Abu Dhabi and another at the Teacher Training Institute in Ajman.
The two centers enable the teaching method to be remotely followed up by virtue of the modern communication mechanisms including computers as well as their networks and multimedia such as audio-visual materials, graphics, search mechanisms, e-libraries and internet portals through virtual learning communities for the ultimate goal of smoothly utilizing all kinds of technology to convey most useful information to learners in a fast and easy manner.
All the measures taken by the MoE serve the interests of students and educational staff and come as a proactive step that keeps up with the updates related to facing crises and natural disasters and providing the highest standards of public safety in the school community.
As all the previous steps should be taken to ensure the progress of the distance learning process, this initiative was implemented experimentally and students, teachers, administrators and parents were prepared for this process, which proved to be extremely effective.
The spring break was optimally exploited to conduct continuous sterilization and cleaning operations for school facilities, universities and school buses, taking into account all other considerations that ensure the provision of an ideal and healthy learning environment.
The MoE called on all to co-operate and adhere to the instructions in order for the distance learning process to be promoted and achieve a dazzling success that would reflect on the quality of education and the achievement of the required cognitive outcomes, stressing the importance for parents to play a key role in following up their children's performance and hence setting the pace of the learning process.
The MoE stated that its Smart Learning Portal is an integrated learning system, in which the elements of the educational process perform their roles in the best way by creating virtual learning communities. These communities were supplemented with all educational curricula and advanced technological tools to provide an interactive learning environment for students, teachers and principals behind computer screens. In this environment, all principals, teachers, students and parents share their specific responsibilities and duties that they fulfill to reflect smooth and flexible completion of the daily learning process.
The Smart Learning Portal connects teachers with students, parents and school leadership, using the latest classroom and home learning and communication methods through laptops or mobile phones. It also follows up the students' academic and behavioral performance and enhances their academic levels within an interactive atmosphere that serves a set of goals including learning about and developing students' technological levels.