Coronavirus in UAE: Are parents prepared to help their kids e-learn?


Coronavirus,UAE, Are, parents, prepared, help,  kids, e-learn

Abu Dhabi - As a precautionary measure against the Covid-19 spread, the Ministry of Education had suspended classes at all schools on March 8.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Wed 18 Mar 2020, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 19 Mar 2020, 10:24 AM

More than a million students in public and private schools across the country are all set to start virtual classes from March 22. However, some parents have raised concerns about the challenges they may face in facilitating a suitable study environment for their children.
As a precautionary measure against the Covid-19 spread, the Ministry of Education had suspended classes at all schools on March 8. Schools used the first two weeks of the break (March 8-19) to ensure all plans are in place to implement distance learning. From March 22, e-learning will start for all students in public and private schools and universities to ensure education continuity even as students remain at home.

Monitoring woes

An Egyptian resident, Ahmed Alaa, has two children studying in grades 2 and 4 at a private school in Abu Dhabi. He hailed the remote learning scheme, but said it would be a "big challenge" for him to monitor his kids. "My wife and I are both working. We are still figuring out how we can help our children as they would need supervision. Leaving them with housemaids during their e-lessons is not an option for us."
He said his wife has applied for flexible working hours so she can monitor them for the first few hours of their e-classes.

Space constraints

Another parent, Khalid Mustafa, an Algerian expat, said he has three boys aged between 7 and 13 years. "They have to attend remote classes from Sunday. We have secured a laptop for each, but the problem now is creating an appropriate learning space for them because we have a small sitting room," he said.
He said the three boys can't be taking their classes all at once in their hall. "We will have to put a table in their bedroom so the eldest attends his classes from there," said Mustafa. "As parents, we shall do our bit to support the children in this remote learning programme. But most of its success will majorly depend on the student's commitment to ensure that they complete the tasks given to them."

Going digital

Pakistani mother, Husna Bukhair, said she will be monitoring her two kids during the e-learning lessons. "But the problem is that I am not well-versed with some of the e-learning platforms.
"The school had provided us with the remote learning guidelines and my husband has been teaching me more about the e-learning platforms. But I am not confident of my skills."
The ministry had urged parents to create an appropriate learning environment at home by providing Internet service and other education resources like computers, tablets and smartphones to their children. Parents were also told to support their children under this new learning programme and ensure that their children are motivated and working to the best of their ability.

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