Wednesday 10 August 2022 - 4:09:32 pm

New UAE University Consortium for Quality Online Learning launched

DUBAI, 21st July, 2020 (WAM) -- The UAE Ministry of Education and the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education launched the University Consortium for Quality Online Learning, UCQOL, a new initiative that aims to support select UAE universities in developing accredited online university programmes and launch them by 2022.

In a joint virtual meeting, the two entities announced the launch of two-year public private partnership intent on making high quality accredited online programmes accessible to a wider pool of students in the UAE and beyond, increasing collaboration among universities in the UAE and building their capacities in the field of online learning.

The initiative aims to support UAE universities committed to develop and deliver high-quality accredited programmes online by 2022.

The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education will provide UCQOL member universities with various forms of support including structured needs assessments, faculty and instructional designer training, and grants to support the design and delivery of their online programs. In addition, UCQOL will serve as a UAE-based professional learning community to exchange, collaborate, and advocate jointly on the issue of online learning.

This initiative aligns with the UAE National Innovation Strategy of promoting innovation in education and the National Strategy for Higher Education 2030 aimed at preparing a new generation of Emiratis to face future challenges. It also comes following the 2019 release by the Ministry’s Commission for Academic Accreditation of a clear and robust framework and standards for accrediting online degree programnes in the UAE.

Commenting on the new initiative, Dr. Muhammad Al Mualla, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Education for Academic Affairs of Higher Education, stressed the importance of moving forward in adding new dimensions to university education at the national level by adopting the best pioneering academic options, including working to expand the base of online accredited academic programmes offered by national universities.

He said that the online learning system that was applied during the last period was a test for all national universities in their ability to deal with this crisis and overcome it by making their academic programmes available through smart platforms which enabled students to continue their university achievement.

Dr. Al Mualla explained that the ministry is working in cooperation with all of its partners to provide higher education with the best experiences and innovative educational practices coordinated with the highest international standards in this field, enabling the higher education sector to achieve specific leaps that will reflect positively on the quality of the national academic outputs.

"We are excited to launch a three-way partnership in the UAE because of a joint commitment with the Ministry and leading universities to making high-quality accredited online education part of the landscape of UAE higher education. I am confident that this project will have far-reaching outcomes not just in the UAE, but across the region," said Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair in his remarks at the launch event.

Following the success of the launch meeting, the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation and Ministry of Education plan to co-host a workshop in early July with all participating universities to outline the operational details of the project.

WAM/Rola Alghoul/Tariq alfaham