Humaid Mohammad Al Qutami, Minister of Education, admires an exhibit at a pavilion at the Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) and Global Education Forum (GEF), the region’s leading educational event, in Dubai yesterday. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: All of the 425 public schools in the UAE will have e-learning platforms within the next six years, a senior Education Ministry official told Gulf News.

Only 10 public schools in the country currently boast e-learning platforms but 20 more schools will begin using them by the next academic year starting in September, officials said.

The initiative, called e-learning gateway, was set in motion last year by the ministry with the aim of transforming learning into a collaborative and interactive internet-based process.

"Since the initiative was launched last year, 10 schools across the country started using the e-learning platform and benefited greatly," Badryah Yousuf Hussain, IT Director at the Ministry of Education, said.

"By September, a total of 30 schools will be using it and within six years every public school in the country."

The official was speaking on the sidelines of the Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) and Global Education Forum (GEF) which kicked off yesterday.

Teachers and students are given usernames and passwords to access the e-learning platform. An extensive repository of 7,000 interactive learning objects covering five core subjects — Maths, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Geography — as well as Arabic and UAE social studies will be available to the students, which will enable them to research various topics related to their curriculum. The learning material will be in Arabic and English.

Teachers will not only assign work through the platform but also upload assessments of the students.

Infrastructure requirements such as internet connections and computer labs have already been readied for the 20 schools that will embrace e-learning this year, Rana Al Khatib, project manager of the initiative, said.

The e-learning initiative is part of the 2010-2020 development strategy of the ministry, which aims to improve infrastructure at schools and provide them with the latest technologies that enable teachers to play an active role in the classroom by running workshops that are more advanced in terms of the use of modern teaching technologies.

Humaid Mohammad Al Qutami, Minister of Education, inaugurated the fourth edition of GESS and GEF, organised by Fairs & Exhibition (F&E ) in association with the ministry.

"The eminent status of education in the region puts us face to face with huge challenges when we plan for the future, but also motivates us to open up to all international activities so we can learn from them in order for our country to shine as a scientific and cultural hub in the region and a centre to develop education," Al Qutami said in his opening address.

The role of education needs to be readdressed from the roots, Dr Tarek Shawki, director of the Unesco regional bureau for science in Arab states, said at the forum. "Just as the invention of printing took education beyond just face-to-face tutoring, new technologies have made it essential for education to be a life-long process of gathering knowledge."

What's on

  • WHAT: Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) and Global Education Forum (GEF)
  • WHEN: May 3 - 5, 2011
  • WHERE: Airport Expo Centre, Dubai.

For more info, visit: www.gesseducation.com