In the times of distress, sparked by the novel coronavirus outbreak, the United Arab Emirates took protective and preventive measures to curtail the virus from spreading. UAE has shut schools, colleges, public places and several institutions. Amid the lockdown to keep hurdles from impacting the education sector any further the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, ADEK came up with robust online learning platforms. For this, ADEK worked in close coordination private schools and digital technology partners for two weeks and officially launched these sites on Sunday, March 22.
Sara Musallam, Chairperson at ADEK, said: "When NCEMA took a decision to suspend schools temporarily to protect our students from the spread of the novel coronavirus, we had to set in place all the necessary measures needed to activate distance learning. Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures and what happened in the following days was an impressive showcase of social cohesion, unity and purpose. I’m extremely proud of how our entire community, from educators to private sector partners came together to rise to the challenge. Our mission at ADEK is to empower education, and we were determined not to allow anything to stand in the way of our children getting a quality education."
ADEK successfully launched the distance learning campaign after partnering with Alef Education, Microsoft Teams, Class Dojo and others. In order to equip schools to continue imparting education over this two-week period, ADEK launched a training session on March 11, 12 and 16 for educators from over 132 schools on best practices for virtual classrooms. The training session was launched in partnership with Microsoft. ADEK also established a digital knowledge-sharing platform featuring 1,014 education files, enabling teachers and educators to access learning resources and materials needed to provide online learning experience for students. These facilities are provided by the government free of charge.
ADEK entered in a strategic partnership with Amazon and Alef Education to provide schools and students with the needed devices/ tablets and collaborated with telecommunication provider du, ADEK to ensure proper connectivity. ADEK has set target to provide over 15,150 tablets, 7,000 SIM cards and 3,000 MiFi devices to facilitate distance learning across institutions.
Musallam added, "Strengthening our distance learning capabilities has been our top priority in the past two weeks. We have been working with educators and technology partners around the clock to ensure that schools are able to deliver learning efficiently and without disruption. With state-of-the-art technology and support from our valued partners, we are taking distance learning to the next level. We have worked hard to address parents’ concerns around the potential interruption to their children’s education, and in just two weeks, we developed turnkey solutions that will enable students to continue learning in a safe environment from home."