The schools in the UAE will soon come alive with the sound of children. The coronavirus pandemic had confined students to their homes, while education continued through e-learning.
Around six months have elapsed since the virus enforced the closure of schools. Now, as the COVID-19 situation in the country has eased, classes are resuming on Sunday.
Each of the emirates has chalked out protocols to ensure the safety of students. Sharjah has decided to start with e-learning, while Abu Dhabi and Dubai will have regular classes. Dubai’s move to begin with 25 per cent students and increase it in a staggered manner will help iron out issues before the schools reach full capacity.
There is a need for students to return to classrooms swiftly. When they return, no effort should be spared to ensure their safety. Parents should educate children on the importance of taking precautionary measures against coronavirus
What we have learnt over the past few months is that distance learning cannot replace classroom teaching. There’s a world of difference. E-learning may be suited for students in higher grades and universities. Even then, it can only supplement classroom learning.
The visual cues and body language of teachers all make for a complete learning experience. And the process will be a lot more interactive.
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When the UAE moved to distance learning in May, teachers merely had two weeks of preparation. It was an alien concept for most of them.
To their credit, teachers acquitted themselves well and learnt to adapt along the way. It may not have been flawless, but there isn’t enough reason to complain given the constraints.
Value of classroom teaching
It also made us realise the value of classroom teaching. The interaction between students, and between students and teachers go a long way in making learning an exciting experience. The group projects, the laughter and fun are all part of education.
Lost in the world of internet learning are extra-curricular activities. Sports, arts, and other activities took a back seat. They too are part of education.
Talented ones make careers of out of it. Who knows there could be a singer or an actor or a painter in each class. And sport is not merely to unearth promising athletes; it provides a much-needed physical activity to students.
All these underscore the need for students to return to classrooms swiftly. When they return, no effort should be spared to ensure their safety. Parents should educate children on the importance of taking precautionary measures against coronavirus. And teachers should ensure that students follow them diligently.
It will ensure a smooth resumption of classes. After all, schools are the cornerstone of education, which moulds the generation of the future.