Pupils return to school. The photo has been used for illustrative purposes. Agence France-Presse
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
As many nations face the dilemma of putting students back to school and ensuring the continuity of their education, the UAE’s commitment to opening schools in September, while prioritising the best interests of students, teachers and education providers, serves as a global model for efficient delivery, said a top official of UAE’s major school network.
“The education sector is an important driver of the national economy. It has helped build the foundations of a robust and diversified economy in addition to creating jobs and supporting ancillary industries, which contribute significant value to the GDP. The high quality of private K-12 education has been a great enabler in positioning the UAE as a very attractive destination for global talent,” Sunny Varkey, founder and executive chairman of Gems Education.
He believes that the consistent focus of the UAE on high-quality education is matched by its impressive accomplishments. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) are global benchmarks on the performance of the education sector. The UAE’s private schools are already among those in the top 15-20 nations in the world in this regard.
Even while government regulators and educators in other countries are debating the right course of action regarding school reopening, the UAE has taken decisive measures, he said. “At Gems Education, we are in full readiness to ensure the provision of education — face-to-face and blended — based on the final directives of the Ministry of Education and the regulators including KHDA. We have hired 800 new teachers, who will join the group’s 7,500 educators for the new academic year.”
“COVID-19 has fundamentally transformed how we work and live, not to mention, how we teach our young people to acquire skills relevant to the future,” he said. “It is important to focus on their seamless return to schools, given the immediate impact of the crisis on working parents who need to balance their jobs with their children’s education.”
During the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Gems Education, which serves over 124,000 students in about 50 schools in the UAE offering five different curricula, ensured uninterrupted online learning and also extended support to students in need.
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