Reopening responsibly: School in shifts? Sharjah getting ready for next academic year


Three proposals are under study by the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) to ensure the continuity of education in case the Covid-19 restrictions continue to the next academic year.

The suggestions were discussed in a remote meeting attended by principals of private schools in Sharjah and an SPEA official.

“If the disease continues, the SPEA and schools will continue to implement the distance learning system for the next academic year. In the event the health pandemic recedes, work will be done to study and analyse the risks for each scenario that has been put forward, to be consistent with the precautionary measures followed. It will work to improve the gaps and weaknesses that were monitored during the third semester,” said Muhdasah Al Hashimi, chairperson of the SPEA.

“The SPEA continues to provide its usual support to all private schools to play a vital role in the service of education. The preparation for the next academic comes within the framework of taking the appropriate decision based on the health situation and precautionary measures being implemented in the country to curb Covid-19,” she added.

The proposals included the continuation of the distance learning system if Covid-19 continues. The second proposal is to merge between direct and virtual education through the return of education in schools at a rate of no more than 50 percent of the capacity of each school, and the continuation of the remaining number from a distance for the purpose of limiting gatherings and maintaining students distancing as important preventive measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The third proposal, suggests the complete return of students within strict controls and procedures, with an emphasis on the importance of continuing to use technology and e-learning programmes within the study plans and continuing to implement it as an integral part of the education strategies used in all educational institutions.

Learning in shifts

The SPEA will study the full return of students to join their schools but in shifts system so that direct education is applied to 50 per cent of students during the first half of the school day and the second group of students begins their classes in school during the second half. The number of students will be divided into two groups so that the number of students in each class does not exceed 15 students.

Each proposal has mechanisms and controls that will be studied and analysed to take the necessary decisions to serve the education sector in general and ensure its continuity and keep pace with technological development and mix between classroom direct education and electronic education,” said Al Hashimi.

She stressed the importance of developing the distance educational system, and work to keep pace with development through the refinement of skills. The SPEA will support the continuous focus on training and professional development for teachers through programmes, courses and workshops, she added.

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