Abu Dhabi: The UAE Ministry of Education announced late on Tuesday the early start of spring vacation for both public and private schools, colleges and universities. According to the announcement, the spring break will start from Sunday, March 8.
The Ministry has also announced a distance learning initiative.
The move forms part of "preventive and precautionary measures to ensure the safety of students and is in line with efforts and measures taken at the national level, aimed at reducing the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19)," according to an official statement.
The announcement states that "schools and higher education institutions are to close for four weeks, starting Sunday."
Both public and private schools
The announcement was made through the UAE's official news agency WAM on Tuesday night. It stated the break covers both public and private schools and colleges across the country.
A sterilisation programme for educational facilities will be carried out during the four-week break.
The Ministry of Education announced all schools and colleges in the country will be closed for four weeks from Sunday, March 8.
The Ministry added that the decision is in the interest of students and comes as a pro-active step in line with the developments related to the response to crises and natural disasters, and to provide the maximum standards of public safety in the school community, as well as in various institutions of higher education.
The Ministry confirmed in its statement, that "under this decision, the spring break for school students, which was scheduled to start on March 29 until April 12, will begin next Sunday. A distance learning initiative will be launched in the last two weeks of the vacation, thus ensuring the continuity of the educational process at home, without hampering in the number of school days."
The Ministry explained that the interest of students requires this action and all the steps needed to ensure the progress of distance learning are being taken.
The Ministry stressed that this period should be used to carry out disinfection and clean-up of school premises and facilities, universities and school buses — adhering to global health requirements and precautions, particularly those related to the curbing the spread of the coronavirus.
In its statement, the Ministry called upon parents to ensure that their children are committed to the practice of distance learning in the last two weeks of the vacation.
The Ministry also urged parents to provide appropriate educational environment for students at home by providing the suitable places, internet access, as well as providing a electronic devices for use in distance education (computers - tablets - smart phone) and encouraging students to practice distance learning throughly so that they can complete all tutorials.
The Ministry of Education had previously implemented the distance learning initiative to cope with crises and natural disasters that could arise in various schools.
Using the smart learning portal, the scheme meets the requirements of the UAE school system, and ensures the continuity of the learning process. Distance learning is a method of self-learning, which leads to the strengthening of an open education system.
The Ministry directed the school administration to implement an awareness programme on distance education for all target groups, such as students, teachers, parents and administrators.
This includes the deployment of tasks assigned to each group and guidance for those entering the training platform to learn how to apply interactive lessons for distance learning, to check on electronic devices and find alternative solutions in cooperation with parents.
The Ministry explained that in case students or teachers are facing any challenges or difficulties, they can avail technical support at 06-7017000 or through the website Sd@moe.gov.ae.