DUBAI 28 August 2020: The choice of distance learning does not impact the fees, said Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman and Director General of Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
This means those attending online classes from home will have to pay the same fees as those opting for in-class tuition.
“But we understand that many schools are putting together different packages to support parents who have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis,” Dr. Al Karam adding that: “We encourage parents to have confidential discussions with the schools. Most of the schools that we talked to are very keen to help out as much as possible. These are the kind of conversations we would like to see between the schools and the parents themselves.
He encouraged parents and students to focus on the positives of the school reopening while ensuring preventive measures are strictly followed.
Dr. Al Karam was responding to questions as part of #AskDXBOfficial, an initiative of the Government of Dubai Media Office, said official news agency Wam.
Blended Learning Model
On the blended learning model to be followed by schools, Dr. Al Karam said: “Some parents and students want to continue distance learning. Distance learning as an option will stay with us, especially at the beginning, until things get better for everyone.”
On the reopening of nurseries, he said: “We are working with federal authorities to decide protocol requirements and the timing of the announcement. People want to go back to work and they want their kids to be in their nurseries. We have teachers who want to be in the nurseries and teach in the school. As we go back to work, school and universities, the reopening of nurseries is very important to us.” (Nurseries allowed to reopen).
Staff Testing Centres
Dr. Al Karam said, school staff members are required to do a PCR test prior to the re-opening. “It makes it comfortable for everyone around them,” he said. The testing facilities will be based in seven schools in Dubai [In above image, Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed, Chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disasters Management, visiting a testing facility for school staff].
As part of the preparations for the new academic year, KHDA said that starting Sunday, 30 August, a booth will be set up in three shopping malls in Dubai to promote awareness on safety and address concerns of parents. The booth, which will be operational one week at a time at Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre and Dubai Festival City Mall, offers parents and families the opportunity to meet with KHDA officials and discuss optimal ways for children to stay safe in the schools.
Awareness activities organised at the booths will guide parents about precautionary measures and safety guidelines for students. Screens will also be set up to broadcast live virtual sessions on the school reopening.
Dr. Al Karam said all schools have submitted detailed re-opening readiness plans that outline safety measures, including social distancing, temperature checks, PE lessons, break times, and school start times.
300,000 kids going back to school
“More than a month ago, the Dubai Government created a very clear protocol for schools and education. It is a very thorough protocol designed by specialists and it’s always been on the conservative side because we have over 300,000 kids going to school,” he said. KHDA will be monitoring all schools in Dubai in collaboration with key authorities to ensure they are continuing to follow precautionary measures to protect students and staff.
The KHDA Director General further said keeping students safe is a shared responsibility between parents and schools. “It will take all of us to come together to make sure that we are adhering to those standards because our safety is important, and the safety of others is important. I hope they will all enjoy the experience of going back to school,” he said. KHDA urges parents to teach their children to follow good hygiene practices, behave responsibly and respectfully and work with teachers to ensure a safe environment for everyone.
Dr. Al Karam confirmed that higher education institutions will also reopen depending on the schedules followed by them or their mother campuses. All universities will be required to follow the Protocols for Reopening of Higher Education Institutions. The KHDA team is currently evaluating the individual reopening plans of the institutions.