Wednesday 23 September 2020 - 6:02:27 pm

Local Press: UAE has built smart, resilient learning platforms


ABU DHABI, 8th September, 2020 (WAM) -- A UAE newspaper has said that when it comes to adoption of smart technologies, the UAE has proved to be a model for the rest of the world. "The UAE decision to create a Satellite Operations Centre to cope with increased demand for distance learning reveals the foresight of the leadership," said Gulf Today in an editorial on Tuesday.

The paper noted, "As stated by Hussain Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, the UAE was well prepared to make the shift to distance learning platforms after the pandemic hit because in 2012 the country launched the Mohammed bin Rashid Smart Learning Initiative which was established to offer a unique learning environment in schools through the introduction of ‘Smart Classes’ under which students will utilise smart devices and high-speed 4G networks as means of acquiring knowledge.

"The experience gained through this initiative has allowed the UAE to fine-tune educational curriculums into two versions one for classrooms and the other for distance learning."

The editorial went on to cite the minister’s words: "We really invested a lot a long time ago in all these infrastructure requirements to enable us to continue educating in different scenarios. It’s about building the best learning platform that is really smart, resilient, and meets modern requirements. Then you need to provide teachers and students with appropriate devices that enable them to enter the network and have the capabilities to use advanced applications and software to be embedded in the learning platform."

It continued, "The rapid shift to distance learning on an unprecedented scale had still created huge technical and logistical challenges for the education system. To deal with this, the Ministry of Education took a brilliant step of creating a Satellite Operations Centre to cope with the demand, and connect with the parents and students.

"As Al Hammadi points out, "We had 1.2 plus million students in the general education that we have to shift within two weeks to this platform for full 100% learning and we had never done this big a number through distance learning. We had to upgrade Internet speed by almost 100%.""

On another front, the paper pointed out, the UAE Government portal, u.ae, attracted a record number of users in August 2020, totalling nearly 1.4 million, which is the highest monthly figure ever reached since its launch in 2000.

"This increase in the number of portal visitors comes as a result of measures taken by the portal team in keeping with the precautionary government efforts to combat coronavirus, COVID-19, where the portal has incorporated a special section on coronavirus in line with the directives of the UAE government aimed at promoting awareness about this disease and working to curb its spread.

"The section includes information on coronavirus, the government’s efforts to contain the virus, anti-coronavirus legislation, the national sterilisation programme, frequently asked questions (FAQ) and many other pages providing visitors with sufficient and reliable information about this pandemic and ways to protect against it.

"In the first half of 2020, the number of users of the portal increased by over 50 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

"As stated by Salem Al Hosani, Acting Deputy Director-General of the Information and Smart Government Sector at the Telecommunications Regulation Authority, TRA, the number of visits to the portal in August 2020 reached two million and the authority is currently developing the portal and updating its sections, according to the best international standards and through the use of Artificial Intelligence, AI, tools to study user behaviour and needs," it said.

"The UAE’s smart initiatives are certainly yielding rich dividends," concluded the Sharjah-based daily.

WAM/Rasha Abubaker