Students of Abu Dhabi's Virtual Charter Schools rejoice after receiving their final scores. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Expatriate students enrolled at Virtual Charter Schools in Abu Dhabi have graduated with exceptional scores in their Grade 12 final exams, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) said today.

The Virtual Charter Schools initiative was launched in October 2020 with a focus on providing free education to expatriate students whose parents were unable to pay school fees due to the financial hardships induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 72 expatriate students graduated from the virtual school after attending final exams administered in accordance with the UAE Ministry of Education’s (MoE) private school curriculum. More than half of them scored more than 90 per cent, while 19 students attained more than 95 per cent. The top three students attained scores in excess of 98 per cent.

Golden Visa eligibility

Following the announcement of the scores, the UAE has said that the 19 students who scored over 95 per cent are eligible to receive the UAE Golden Visa, which provides long-term residency status. This will allow them and their families to live, study or work in the UAE and enjoy exclusive benefits.

“These results speak volumes about the resilience, dedication and determination of these students who, despite the challenges faced by their families as a result of the pandemic, were able to really apply themselves to their studies and deliver such impressive results,” said Khulood Al Dhaheri, executive director of the education partnerships sector at the Adek.

“We are full of admiration for these students, the first to graduate from this pioneering initiative. We believe their performances will inspire others. In congratulating the students on achieving such distinctive results of national significance, we also thank them for demonstrating the inclusivity and uniformity of opportunity within Abu Dhabi’s education ecosystem and its wider community,” she added.

Award ceremony

The graduates received their certificates at a special ceremony held at Al Riyadh School that was attended by Adek chairman Sara Musallam.

On receiving her certificate valedictorian Maraam Hussam Noah, who scored an admirable 99.15 per cent, was full of praise and appreciation for her teachers and batch-mates. “The Virtual Charter School helped me and my colleagues survive the challenges that befell us during the pandemic. It took a lot of worry off our shoulders and gave us a chance to continue with our education. My hard work has paid off. This is also a tribute to all the teaching staff and my fellow students who formed an immensely supportive community, which inspired me to give of my very best. I hope the others who face challenging circumstances will now realise that hardships can be overcome, especially in Abu Dhabi where a first-rate education system is really within reach of everyone,” she said.

Virtual charter school model

At its pilot launch in October 2020, the Virtual Charter School welcomed 579 students from 15 nationalities. At present, 872 students from Grades 5 to 12 are enrolled in virtual school.

Read more

It offers a hybrid learning experience and is operated by Edurizon Education Services, a subsidiary of education investment company AlephYa Education. Oversight, management and regulatory guidance are delivered by Adek’s Education Partnerships Sector, which also oversees other charter schools in the emirate.

Officials said last year that the virtual charter school model could be expanded to include other curricula if private-sector companies showed the interest.