The UAE created a satellite operations centre to cope with the rapid shift to distance learning on an unprecedented scale due to coronavirus pandemic, Minister of Education Hussain Al-Hammadi has announced.
Al-Hammadi was speaking at the virtual edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (#GMIS2020) which took place on September 4-5.
“We had more than 1.2m students in the general education who were required to shift within two weeks to this platform for full 100% learning and we had never done this big a number through distance learning. We had to upgrade Internet speed by almost 100%,” he said.
Al-Hammadi said the UAE was well prepared to make the shift to distance learning platforms after the pandemic hit because in 2012 the country launched the Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Learning Initiative which was established to offer a learning environment in schools through the introduction of ‘Smart Classes’ under which students will utilise smart devices and high-speed 4G networks as means of acquiring knowledge.
The experience gained through this initiative allowed the UAE to fine-tune educational curriculums into two versions – one for classrooms and the other for distance learning.
“We really invested a lot a long time ago in all these infrastructure requirements to enable us to continue educating in different scenarios,” Al-Hammadi added. “It’s about building the best learning platform that is really smart, resilient, and meets modern requirements. Then you need to provide teachers and students with appropriate devices that enable them to enter the network and have the capabilities to use advanced applications and software to be embedded in the learning platform.”