The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the UAE’s education system; many schools have closed down and most students attend online classes. The government and many schools are encouraging solutions and approaches that promote the continuity of education during the pandemic. Transmission can be slowed down by closing schools; however, this depends on how learners carry themselves outside the classroom.
Minimizing learning activities for a short period keeps learners safe and prevents schools from turning into transmission hotspots. Although many schools around the world have closed, students in the UAE continue with their studies because they have access to useful tools such as remote learning.
Efforts by the UAE Government to Prevent COVID-19 Infections in Schools
The Ministry of Education is on the frontline to stop the spread of Coronavirus; it announced a 4-week closure of all private and public schools and universities from 8th March 2020. Distance learning commenced on 22nd March 2020.
The Ministry takes this initiative seriously and ensures that all student interests are met and distance learning is conducted correctly. This decision allows private schools and universities the freedom to conduct their classes in the best way they can to perpetuate education.
Students are advised to take advantage of learning tools to help them in distance learning. Distractive behavior like social media browsing and looking at photos is not allowed. Parents are also urged to provide a conducive learning environment for students.
Impacts of COVID-19 on Education
The UAE government encourages non-pharmaceutical interventions to slow the spread of Coronavirus. These include self-isolation, social distancing, wearing masks, etc.
COVID-19 has affected education in the UAE in several ways;
Higher education institutions have closed to curb the spread of the virus. As Coronavirus continues to spread, your university in Dubai might continue with remote studies or decide to open when cases go down. If schools reopen, precautions will be followed like wearing masks, maintaining social distance, and using sanitizers.
The closure of schools doesn‘t mean the end of learning; if you study at a university in Dubai you’re already aware of this strategy. Although remote learning is not new, it has been popularized by students and learning institutions since many schools have closed. Students can learn wherever they are and even create their schedules. This not only stops the spread of COVID-19 but it also teaches students discipline to study without supervision and to submit assignments on time.
Many institutions have been forced to delay admissions and standardized tests. Others have decided to extend the academic year due to may miss school days and delays. Semesters and classes are being delayed as students and teachers get used to using new learning tools and styles. Although there are delays, higher education institutions are still able to hold virtual university tours to showcase their campuses.
Increased Workload and Stress
Administrators and teachers have more workload and have to work more hours preparing for online lessons. They now have longer working hours and they are now busier with less or no breaks. They hardly have any time to coordinate with others but the most stressful part is designing and preparing lessons and activities. Stressed instructors have a negative impact on learners and the way knowledge is transmitted.
Enhanced Data Protection
Distance learning has put pressure on higher education institutions to use new systems and technologies to ensure education continues smoothly. This way almost every university in Dubai is using various video teleconference systems like Microsoft teams and Zoom to improve the learning experience for students. Learners also use these applications to submit assignments, communicate with each other, and engage in-class activities.
There are concerns about the safety of students’ data due to the increased use of online tools. Learning institutions and parents should learn about laws that protect student data. Schools should seek consent before collecting, sharing, or storing student data. They should also be open about their data collecting strategies. Institutions should store this data securely to prevent unauthorized and unlawful breeches.
Cybercrimes have increased since many people started working and learning remotely. There is a rise in hackers and email compromises which lead to ransomware attempts and extortions. Scammers are using clever tricks like offering relief or phishing emails asking for donations. Video teleconferences have also been hijacked by Zoombombers; online trolls can disrupt online classes by delivering offensive messages. Learning institutions should invest in security features to prevent present and future cybercrimes. Teachers and learners should be encouraged to avoid giving information to third parties or clicking on suspicious links.
As COVID-19 continues to prevail, many learning institutions are embracing new ways of delivering lessons and class activities. The closure of many institutions has encouraged the use of remote learning which allows students to learn and submit assignments from various locations. There are also challenges like increased workload and stress, cybercrimes, and hacking.