As thousands of pupils in the UAE scramble for last-minute revisions for their annual exams in the weeks ahead, the decision by the UAE authorities to allow children aged 12 and above to get the COVID-19 vaccine has brought relief and delight for parents and educators across the country.
Earlier this year, children aged 16 and above were approved to take the jab against coronavirus in the UAE. Last week, the Ministry of Health and Prevention approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccines to be administered to children aged between 12 and 15. That approval came after the UAE carried out successful clinical trials and assessments, which showed it to be 100 per cent effective for children in the specified age group.
Lowering the vaccination age for children heralds a new chapter in the UAE’s battle against the pandemic, even as the all-important annual exam season nears.
With pupils fully vaccinated, parents and educators feel safer and more confident about not only exams and eventual classes to resume full-scale in school and college campuses, but also about the reinstatement of memorable milestones such as in-person graduation ceremonies.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) announced earlier this week that private schools in Dubai can host graduation ceremonies this year — and graduates, guests, and academic staff who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 must present a negative result of a PCR test taken no more than 48 hours prior to the event. The KHDA said ceremonies can be held for students completing Grade 12/Year 13 this year.
By adopting these measures, the UAE has once again demonstrated that it’s possible to protect students from the wrath of the pandemic and yet enable the environment for in-person classes and exams to accelerate the process of learning and ensure the mental well-being of students and educators.
The collective combination of all these measures will have an immensely positive impact on students and the education community across the country, making this a pivotal moment to secure their long-term future.
Of course, this has been made possible due to the stringent health, safety and preventive protocols put in place by the UAE authorities to ensure a safe and gradual reopening of businesses, offices and now the education sector across the country.
The onus is now on students, parents and educators to ensure their strong support to make these initiatives a total success — by taking the vaccines for all eligible residents at the earliest opportunity and strictly following COVID guidelines for educational institutions at all times, along with the wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing.