Over 80% of Abu Dhabi private schools get highest rating for distance learning

education, covid-19, coronavirus, Abu Dhabi, UAE, private schools, Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge

Abu Dhabi - Out of 173 schools, 146 were found offering 'developed' e-learning programmes.


A Staff Reporter

Published: Thu 30 Jul 2020, 2:17 PM

Last updated: Thu 30 Jul 2020, 4:29 PM

Eighty-four per cent of private schools in Abu Dhabi received the highest rating for their distance learning programmes, based on the UAE-wide evaluations held for 2019-20 academic year. 
Out of 173 schools, 146 were found offering 'developed' e-learning programmes, according to the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek).
The evaluations rate schools' distance learning systems as 'developed', 'partially developed' or 'not developed'. And in the Capital, no private school was rated 'not developed' for e-learning. The rest of the campuses, 27, got the 'partially developed' mark. 
In Dubai, 67 per cent of private schools were given the 'developed' rating, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). 
Sara Musallam, chairperson of Adek, said: "I am proud of the collective efforts of schools, teachers and parents in adapting to a very challenging education environment."
"Before the closure of schools, we identified organisation, collaboration and inclusion as our three core process metrics, and we worked diligently with parents and partners across the education ecosystem to ensure vital distance learning programmes could be implemented and the results reflect that."
The Distance Learning Evaluation (DLE) was first announced in March. It is a joint initiative between Adek,  Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA), Dubai's KHDA, and Ministry of Education.
Evaluations focus on three main criteria: how well students were learning and how well their wellbeing was safeguarded; how well teachers were teaching and monitoring students' learning; and how well school leaders were managing students' learning across the school. Within these three zones, there were 13 themes and 39 indicators. 
A total of 21 Emirati and 18 international inspectors assessed Abu Dhabi schools for seven weeks. They analysed stakeholder questionnaires, conducted discussions with school leaders, and attended live sessions. Schools were also requested to submit students' work samples and other documents for review and assessment.
Supporting schools
Two days before school closures in the Capital, 160 private school principals attended an Adek workshop where they were updated and asked to submit a proactive distance learning strategy within 48 hours. Over 200 schools submitted plans, which were reviewed by Adek and returned with next-stage feedback within five days. 
The department also partnered with firms like Alef Education, Microsoft Teams, Class Dojo, Amazon Web Services, and MyOn to equip schools with the required distance learning platforms and professional development needed. 
Consistent ongoing communications were an essential element of success: From roundtables and focus groups to surveys with schools and stakeholders. During the e-learning period, challenges were rapidly addressed and adjusted. 
Adek also resolved more than 3,500 school enquiries via e-mail and three telephone hotlines, while also compiling and updating dedicated online guides for educators, parents and stakeholders. 
Some schools were put into support network groups with stronger schools to ease the transition from classroom to at-home education. A number of them were praised for their demonstrations of collaboration and knowledge-sharing. Cranleigh Abu Dhabi, an 'outstanding' British curriculum school on Saadiyat Island, tasked a dedicated team of seven faculty members to deliver distance learning training to 12 Asian curriculum schools. 
Inclusion remained a primary objective and, to ensure the continuation of education programmes for students of determination, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Special Education - New England Center for Children (NECC) and Al Karamah School provided a range of outreach initiatives, including student therapy and virtual support sessions for parents.

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