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Student studies from home in Dubai on 2nd April, 2020. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: UAE education authorities have cautioned parents against enrolling their children in distance learning from schools outside the UAE that are not recognised.

The advisory follows reports that some UAE-based parents were considering the move after being approached on social media by such schools offering annual fees less than Dh5,000.

Some parents financially hit by the coronavirus pandemic’s fallout are considering alternative education options for their children that are cheaper than their current school.

However, authorities in the UAE have warned against choosing unaccredited operators abroad, saying their certificates will not be accepted in the emirates.

Last week, the Ministry of Education (MoE) tweeted on its official account, @MOEducationUAE, “Parents should not be lured by low tuition offers to enrol their children for online study at schools outside the UAE, as certificates issued by such schools will not be recognised by MoE.”

This could mean the students of such schools will not be able to re-enrol in UAE schools without repeating the year. Students switching schools normally require certificates of transfer and qualification.

In order to successfully enrol children in Abu Dhabi emirate schools, parents must provide certificates from education providers or schools that are accredited in their host countries. These certificates also have to be attested by the relevant Ministries of Education to be accepted by the school and the Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek), the emirate’s education regulator that ensures compliance with MoE standards.

Parents who wish to enrol children in international distance learning programmes should therefore check that these requirements are met, especially if they hope to eventually enrol them in an Abu Dhabi school or university in future.

Sources say they are expecting updated regulations on the matter in the near future.

When asked about guidelines for online schooling in the context of this development, regarding such foreign schools offering distance learning for low fees, Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) said, “KHDA does not currently recognise homeschooling programmes.”

Schools in the UAE closed in March and will remain shut until the end of the academic year as a precaution against COVID-19. All learning has moved online as a result.