Dubai: The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) will sustain its initiatives for the education sector through the lockdown period, an official told Gulf News on Monday.
Though schools are closed and events are cancelled, including gatherings of educators, students and parents, KHDA will sustain its regular programmes by organising them online.
The restrictions are part of precautionary measures against the coronavirus pandemic.
KHDA most recently held its latest edition of ‘Dubai Saturday Clubs’ exclusively online for the first time. The project is an informal educational programme for teenagers from Dubai schools aimed at introducing them to careers and new skills.
Speaking to Gulf News, Maitha Ali, programme designer for Dubai Saturday Clubs at KHDA, said: “It is lovely to see the togetherness and engagement across the whole school community. We are physically distancing ourselves but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still a community. Our programmes and initiatives will continue to play an important role in bringing together everyone and helping each other thrive. It’s important to stay positive and remain focused on our commitment to continue learning.
She added: “Distance learning is a completely new experience for many young learners and we know it’s working well for our community. The overall satisfaction is quite high and it reflects the aspiration and willingness of our educators, families and students to continue learning at all times.”
A recent KHDA poll suggests 85 per cent of students are “satisfied or very satisfied” with their distance learning experience.
The virtual Saturday Club saw a group of 13 young learners join a session on photography facilitated by ‘Nikon Kids Photo Club’.
“Together with our community partners we are creating new ways to collaborate and learn with each other through distance learning platforms… Distance learning is bringing our students even closer and our future sessions will be even bigger with the community’s participation,” Maitha said.
Currently in its fifth season, the Saturday Clubs have hosted over 300 students across a variety of creative sessions. Every week, young learners are given an opportunity to work together with social entrepreneurs and creative professionals, often in partnership with local art spaces, universities and cultural avenues.
Sharing his experiences, Butti Al Muhairi, a student of Dar Al Marefa School, said: “It’s boring being at home and these sessions are a great way to learn something new and build on our passion. As soon as I learned of the sessions, I immediately signed up for it.”
The ongoing sessions are open to young adults aged 12-15 from Dubai schools. Each session will be delivered by mentors in the fields of Creativity, Design, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Photography, Self-development, Sustainable Design and Wellbeing.
How to participate
The Dubai Saturday Club is free to attend. Registration for the fifth season is open to young learners through www.dubaisaturdayclubs.ae
The sessions are held on Saturdays at twice a month between November and April of each year, during which students who are members of clubs receive certificates of participation.