A security guard greets students outside a school in Dubai on Sunday.
After almost six months, schools in the UAE reopened their doors on Sunday and welcomed students back for the first day of the new academic term.
While schools and classrooms might not look and operate quite the same as earlier in the year, given the numerous health and safety measures in place, students and teachers were still visibly pleased to be reunited and learning together once more.
Even those students who have opted to continue distance learning will have the opportunity to interact with friends and classmates as lessons are streamed live into their homes.
Sir Christopher Stone, Global Chief Education Officer, Gems Education, said that the first day back to school after the summer is always an exciting, auspicious one for students and teachers alike — yet even more so this year.
"Our schools have stood empty since we transitioned to remote learning in March, so we are incredibly pleased to finally be able to welcome students back into our classrooms. Every precaution and measure has been taken to ensure our school communities return to a safe and secure environment, and together with the support of our Gems families, we have every confidence that the new academic term will be a resounding success for all,” he said.
Simon Herbert, Head of School/CEO, Gems International School-Al Khail, Dubai, said, "We are so excited about our students’ return to school. This year has seen so many challenges and our students have been away from school for such a long time. Therefore, our staff are ready to welcome, comfort, support and re-engage. This year, more than any year before, our focus is on the well-being of our whole community. We are delighted that so many children have chosen to return to our campus, but we do not forget those who have opted for remote learning. We are ready for both and remain flexible, agile and resilient.”
Nav Iqbal, Principal/CEO, Gems Metropole School-Motor City, Dubai, said, "The safety of our community is a key priority and we will accept nothing less than excellence in this. Our teams have ensured students return to a safe and inclusive school that will put a smile on every child’s face. We look forward to welcoming our children and seeing them back in school, learning, having fun and growing together.”
Coinciding with the start of the academic year 2020-2021, the Ministry of Education launched "Hello School” Initiative titled "We Only Get Stronger”. The initiative aims at motivating and spreading positivity between the educational cadre, including students and parents, and creating an interactive atmosphere, paving the students’ way to continue their educational journey within the Hybrid Learning model adopted by the Ministry of Education.
"Hello School” initiative offers a diverse number of motivational and awareness activities, targeting all students, educational cadre and parents and supporting the ministry’s efforts to maintain a safe and effective educational environment, capable of sustaining the continuity of the educational process through enabling the educational cadre to practice their roles efficiently, taking into consideration all the safety measures that the ministry put in place for all students and teachers for a risk free academic year.
The initiative also focuses on various student activities, aiming at raising their awareness on how to communicate with each other in schools, while abiding to social distancing in order to achieve the highest safety standards within an educational environment based on interaction and positivity for a successful academic year to achieve the desired educational goals and outcomes.
Commenting on the importance of the initiative and its objectives, Minister of State for Public Education Jameela Al Muhairi said that "Hello School” initiative is part of a set of measures that the Ministry of Education worked on in preparation for the academic year 2020-2021, as the ministry is keen every year on launching this initiative to motivate and encourage the students.
She also added that the ministry hugely invested in preparing the students mentally and morally for the start of the academic year, believing in the importance of connecting with all students across all cycles.
Government and private schools following the curriculum of the Ministry of Education, kindergartens and adult education likely received more than 1,119,000 students on Sunday.
The KHDA encouraged parents and students to focus on the positives of the school reopening while ensuring preventive measures are strictly followed.
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