Following the global onset of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, schools in the UAE made an overnight shift to mandatory distance learning, which continued to the end of the 2019/20 academic year.1 Over the summer break, the UAE’s education regulators worked closely with state and private schools to establish stringent protocols for students’ return to the physical classroom, balancing safety and practicality.

Authors: Alison Eslick Jenine Abdeljaber

A report card for distance education in the UAE

Then, on 16 August 2020, the UAE’s Ministry of Education (MoE) announced that distance learning for Term 1 would be an option available to all. Emphasising freedom of choice, the MoE announced that:

“Parents have been allowed to freely choose between their children’s mode of attendance, face to face at school or through distance learning, for the first term, to achieve stability within the school community and to ensure the safety of our students, while meeting the requirements of physical distancing.”

The coming weeks and months will no doubt be an important test for the education ‘new normal’. However, thinking further ahead, there is also a unique opportunity for UAE regulators to accelerate progress towards a nimble and future-proofed education system. In this article, we look back at the UAE’s enforced period of distance learning and overview the key learnings and best practice insights that will shape education policy in the UAE for generations to come.

To read the full whitepaper, please download the PDF below.