The ADEK follows the UAE Unified Distance Learning Evaluation Tool to evaluate private schools’ Distance Learning programmes.
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
During the recently concluded 2019-20 academic year’s period of Distance Learning, 173 private schools in the emirate of Abu Dhabi were evaluated over seven weeks by 21 Emirati and 18 international inspectors. The final evaluation results were overseen by 13 Quality Assurance officers.
In total, 146 private schools, or 84% of all evaluated schools, scored the highest rating of ‘Developed’, with 27 private schools rated ‘Partially Developed’ (16%) and none rated ‘Not Developed’.
The positive overall performance of Distance Learning programmes implemented by Abu Dhabi’s private schools during the COVID-19 pandemic is the direct result of “organisation, collaboration and inclusion” by schools, teachers, parents and inspection administrators, according to the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK).
“I am proud of the collective efforts of schools, teachers and parents in adapting to a very challenging education environment,” said ADEK Chairman Sara Musallam. “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 UAE Unified Distance Learning Evaluation Tool focused on three main zones: ‘Student Distance Learning and Wellbeing’, ‘Teaching and Monitoring Students Learning’, and ‘Leading and Managing Students Learning’. Within the three Zones there were 13 themes and 39 indicators. Over the course of the evaluation ADEK inspectors analysed stakeholder questionnaires, conducted discussions with school leaders, and attended live sessions. Schools were also requested to submit work samples and other documents for review and assessment.
Two days before school closures, 160 Abu Dhabi-based private schools principals attended an ADEK workshop where they were updated on forthcoming closures 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.
To empower private schools’ infrastructure, ADEK harnessed partnerships with Alef Education, Microsoft Teams, Class Dojo, Amazon Web Services, MyOn and many others, to equip them with the required Distance Learning platforms and professional development needed.
The evaluation results revealed notable success in ADEK’s priority of safeguarding students online following clear guidelines advising parents and students on how to remain protected while studying digitally.
All Gems Education schools evaluated in Dubai also achieved the highest ‘Developed’ rating for their distance learning provision deployed in response to the unprecedented circumstances of the past months, ensuring students continued to receive the highest quality education.
The DLE is a collaborative initiative between the Ministry of Education, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge and the Sharjah Private Education Authority and KHDA. Gems Education schools have upheld their impressive record, having rolled out exceptional remote learning plans for students and parents since the mandated closure of schools and the transition to distant learning in March 2020.
The results were based on the collective remote learning sessions delivered to date by Gems Education schools, spanning all curricula and year groups, and with an attendance rate of close to 100 per cent.
Jodh Singh Dhesi, Deputy Chief Education Officer, Gems Education, said, “We are delighted that all the evaluations for our schools are in the very top tier. It is a testament to the flexibility and hard work of our teachers and students, supported by their leaders and families.”
“Unprecedented events call for unprecedented measures, and we are proud of having successfully transferred online the learning of 120,000 students led by 8,000 teachers while maintaining the highest academic standards and the satisfaction of our parents. Our commitment to high quality learning through investment in technology and our people has certainly brought strong results and we are very happy that the regulators have recognised our efforts.”
The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has been working closely with private schools and technology partners in the past two weeks in an effort to prepare Abu Dhabi schools for the kick-off of distance learning, starting Sunday. This follows the UAE Ministry of Education’s decision to temporarily suspend schools as a preventative measure in light of COVID-19.
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