Success of blended learning depends on home-school partnership: minister
August 31 2020 11:24 PM
HE Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education
HE Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education

*Over 340,000 students will attend public and private schools in academic year 2020-21
*Total number of private schools and kindergartens goes up to 334 *7,600 more seats added this year

HE Dr Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education, has expressed hope that this year will be very successful and fruitful for all, particularly for students and parents.

Congratulating students and parents on the eve of the beginning of the new academic year, the Minister said he is pretty sure that this year will be very successful and fruitful for all of us.

In a statement issued on Monday, he said: "I would like to extend my gratitude to all teaching and administrative staff for their tireless work and dedication in spite of the concerns that was associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Undoubtedly, we have been facing health threat that severely impacted the educational, health, economic and social aspects of life.

Since the lifting of schools’ suspension on March 22, the ministry has been working ceaselessly to provide innovative solutions that take into account the health and well-being of our students and colleagues.

Much attention has been given to delivering essential educational content to our students and making up for the lack of in-person attendance, so that students would not suffer academic decline when they move to higher stages.

"Over 340,000 students will attend our public and private schools for upcoming academic year of 2020/21.We have been working over the past period to develop operational plans to receive this number of students.

Five new public schools were opened, including Qatar Technical Secondary School for Girls, bringing the total number of public schools and preschools to 283.

In addition, 145 new classrooms will be added to the existing public schools with a capacity of more than 3,600 seats.

Additionally, 13 new private schools and kindergartens with a capacity of more than 7,600 seats were opened, which brings the total number of private schools and kindergartens to 334.

"Based on Covid-19 infection rates in Qatar and driven by our belief in the importance of resuming the education process, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, in close coordination with the Ministry of Public Health, decided to implement the 'Blended Learning' approach, which combines online and classroom-based learning.

The maximum attendance rate will be 30% of school capacity per day."

HE the Minister said this is the best possible rate for students under the current situation."The in-person attendance to school premises achieves the academic objectives of the educational process and equips students with the necessary skills in subjects that require practice and lab-based experiences.

"In parallel, blended learning will serve the objectives of distance learning, most importantly allowing students to develop and use IT skills, as well as innovation and creativity capabilities.

He said 'Blended Learning' offers parents a good opportunity to integrate into the educational system."The success of the blended learning depends on many factors, most prominently home-school partnership.

We are sure that parents will spare no effort to support their children, urge them to go to school on the specified days, and follow up on their commitment.

To ensure a smooth implementation of the blended learning, and to reassure the public community; the Ministry has decided, in full coordination with the Ministry of Public Health, that all public and private school staff members will undergo medical examinations prior to the academic year to ensure that they are free of Covid-19.

"We have also stressed the necessity for all schools to comply with the precautionary measures announced by our Health and Safety Department.

Violations of the preventive measures will never be tolerated.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Ministry has quickly moved to automating its services.

in order to relieve the public's burden and ensure social distancing measures are in place.

Regarding university students, he said the Ministry has also arranged to ease pandemic impact on them.

Students were allowed to resume their learning remotely both in Qatar and abroad.

Credit hours under the pandemic have been approved for courses that have been delivered regularly.

"We are constantly contacting our cultural attachés to follow up on our students and ensure their safety.

"Also,we have announced online registration for government scholarships and started receiving applications as per this year's plan.

In spite of the pandemic, the Ministry continues to implement its plan to expand on higher education institutions.

The Lusail private university has been opened.

It will offer an array of undergraduate programs to over 500 students in cooperation with overseas universities.

HE Dr al-Hammadi urged the students to be optimistic and confident that this exceptional situation that struck the entire world, will end soon."We must be sure that this tough experience is a blessing in disguise, which will strengthen and benefit our students in their future.We pray that God would bring this pandemic to an end very soon and would protect our country," he added.

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