In UAE, 13 million children are out of their schools and colleges due to the onslaught of COVID-19 pandemic. To provide extensive knowledge in regard to school closures during the pandemic, UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States (UNESCO Beirut) collaborated with Division of Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems in the Education Sector at UNESCO Paris, the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to facilitate the broadcast or workshop on distance education programmes on 21 July, 2020.
In the country, online learning has met the same adversities as most of the other countries across the world—lack of accessibility, dwindling resources and inadequate training among students are teachers. As a result, many students are outside the periphery of online education which was adopted as an alternative to suspension of classroom learning. However, around 51.3 percent of students, or half the population of the Arab States, with poor internet connectivity have switched to TV learning.
The programme was initiated with the pertinent question by Dr Hegazi Idris, Programme Specialist for Basic Education and Literacy at UNESCO:
“How can quality audio-visual educational programmes be developed and implemented? What capacities are needed? What is the role of educators, communicators and education authorities in supporting TV and radio-based education? What are the expected learning outcomes and how can they be measured and monitored?”
During the session, educators had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and good practices in developing audio-visuals and harnessing TV and radio in productive ways for imparting education.
The webinar ended with a special mention to Global Education Coalition that seeks to support countries upholding the best possible education amidst COVID-19 pandemic, facilitate ways for students to return back to school thereby eliminating high drop-out rates and provide equitable solutions to vulnerable students with a higher emphasis on health and nutrition.