Will all schools be providing Distance Learning?
Yes, according to the Ministerial Decree No (229) of March 30th, 2020, schools that started their academic year in September, 2019 must provide Distance Learning for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year. Schools that started their academic year in April 2020 must provide Distance Learning until the end of the first semester.
If Distance Learning is not available at my child’s school, what can be done?
The UAE Ministry of Education has stated that all schools must provide Distance Learning during the school closure period. Please check with your school to learn how it plans to deliver Distance Learning. If it is established beyond reasonable doubt that, to date, the school has not been delivering Distance Learning, please contact SPEA immediately.
We are struggling with the implementation of Distance Learning because some of our students and staff don't have internet connection. What can we do?
During the Distance Learning period, all Du, Etisalat and Virgin Mobile customers can access selected video conferencing tools (Blackboard, Zoom, Microsoft Teams) and schools’ websites without data charges. Operators are working to expand the list of available platforms and all information and updates can be found at these links:
My children can’t access Distance Learning because they don't have electronic devices. What can I do?
We recommend that you get in touch with your school and inform them.
Will schools provide laptops and internet connectivity to students who are unable to afford it?
SPEA is working closely with school administrators and partners to equip students with all they need to implement Distance Learning. Your school is aware of the procedure to request support. Please refer back to your school administration.
Who is eligible to receiving Distance Learning devices if they cannot afford one themselves?
Students of low and very low fee schools are eligible to receive devices on loan for the Distance Learning period. These will be disseminated through the schools.
The government facilitated support to help the economy, will similar support be given to the education sector?
To date, and with the support of our partners, we have provided over 200 laptops. We have launched a knowledge-sharing link with more than 1,000 teaching resources and short listed 297 websites for your children. We have also provided over 100 hours of online training to all educators in Sharjah. In addition, teachers have completed 8 hours of online courses on how to be an online tutor and design an online lesson. SPEA will continue to work closely with schools and parents to assist and support with other solutions to challenges faced.
How will schools implement Distance Learning?
Although each school is unique and has its own plans for implementing Distance Learning, SPEA has circulated to all schools the “Distance Learning Policy”, to inform schools of the basic requirements and standards for Distance Learning to be implemented. SPEA is working closely with schools to make additional learning resources available to students and parents where needed.
Shall we expect the school to provide virtual / live streaming / asynchronous / live podcasting / live teaching sessions?
Yes, SPEA has directed all schools to implement virtual classrooms as well as asynchronous lessons. Research tells us that a balance is needed.
How many live teaching sessions a day shall we expect?
It’s up to schools and the curriculum requirements. They should share the timetable with students and parents
My children’s school uses links to share resources and assignment only, is this normal?
Schools' responsibility should not be limited to sharing educational resources with student, which may place undue burden on parents as this may impede student learning. Rather, SPEA expects all schools to be mindful of the currents challenges the students are facing and ensure delivering the learning in an innovative way.
How much homework / assignments shall we expect?
The amount of homework and/or assignments should be reasonable and in line with the challenges of the current situation. SPEA advises all schools to minimize the amount of homework as much as possible. SPEA expects all schools to be mindful of the current situation and aware of the parent’s expectations and challenges during the period of Distance Learning. Schools should avoid placing undue burden on students and parents as this may impede student learning.
What subjects will students be required to study through Distance Learning?
Every school will have its own offering based on its curriculum requirements. SPEA mandates schools to cover the core curriculum subjects and mandated subjects.
Does the Distance Learning policy include Kindergarten stage?
Yes. Kindergarten 1 and above are included; all eligible students will receive Distance Learning material.
Shall we expect the school to have its own electronic platform?
Yes, all schools should have specific electronic platforms and applications to implement Distance Learning.
Shall we expect the schools to share with us the access details for the electronic platform used in Distance Learning?
Yes, schools should provide log in details to all students to access the platforms.
How many students should be in one virtual class?
As per regulations, class size should not exceed 30 students. We expect all schools to practice their educational activity as normal and comply. However, SPEA understands the nature of the current situation and we may allow some exceptions in certain cases.
Is it allowed to have mixed classes with boys and girls in cycle 2 virtual classes?
As per the regulations, mixed classes are not permitted. We expect all schools to comply.
Can the teacher combine his/her classes in one virtual class?
SPEA encourages all schools to practice their educational activity as normal. Schools should avoid combining classes to ensure quality education.
What time should the school day begin?
The school day should not begin earlier than 8 am. All schools must practice their work as usual in the morning period for all grades. The school day should not exceed five (5) hours a day nor be less than four (4) hours a day.
Schools are expected to consider the students at the kindergarten and primary stages and meet the expectations of their parents, as these stages require close monitoring and follow-up.
How long is the virtual lesson?
SPEA advises schools to be mindful of the current situation and the challenges the students may face during the Distance Learning. Hence, the virtual lesson should not exceed 40 minutes nor be less than 25 minutes. A minimum of a 5-minute break should be given to students between lessons.
How can we help our children spend their free time meaningfully at home?
SPEA has recently launched three Virtual Competitions for our students in private schools. We strive to provide an attractive educational environment that allows our amazing students to highlight their capabilities and show their talents. Please contact your school competition coordinator for registration and more details.
How have educators’ roles changed now that children are learning from home?
Teachers have taken on added responsibilities, but their role remains the same. Over 16,000 educators and teaching staff in Sharjah are preparing daily lessons, delivering comprehensive plans for Distance Learning, while working hard to continuously improve their methodology, in order to enhance the education experience for all students. We should also remember that many of them are parents as well, who are simultaneously educating both our children and their own.
For schools who are not performing well in Distance Learning, what measures are SPEA taking to address this?
SPEA has been closely monitoring the experience of both schools and parents through regular surveys and fully dedicated hotlines during this phase, to continually improve the delivery of Distance Learning. We continue to work closely with all stakeholders to address any shortcomings and maintain the quality of education delivered. SPEA urges everyone to remember that this is a new experience, and as such, we advocate for more understanding and patience, as schools adjust and continue to improve on a new method of teaching. All schools are required to implement a parent communication strategy for Distance Learning; we encourage parents to contact their schools as soon as they are aware of emerging challenges.