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Qatar Ministry introduces new blended learning plan for schools

24 August 2020

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE) has announced changes to its three-phase back-to-school plan for the academic year 2020-21. The new plan announced now will include blended learning during the first semester of next academic year.

It will be combination of online and classroom-based learning across all stages of education across public and private schools, preschools, and higher education institutions.

The move came following close coordination with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) on necessary precautions to be taken to prevent spread of COVID-19 and the rate of virus infections in Qatar. It also aims to lessen the academic consequences due to school closures and the delay in start of new academic year.

As per the new approach, students will go to school once or twice a week with maximum attendance rate of 30 percent of school capacity per day. This will allow students to attend basic classes and do laboratory tests and experiments.

Schools will have to break the students into groups of not more than 15 in each classroom. Desks should be arranged at a distance of 1.5 metres between students in the classroom.

On the days when students do not attend classes, distance learning will be in place.

In the blended learning model, students will take the mid-semester and end-of-semester exams at school premises. Schools will be responsible for planning exam schedules to ensure that physical distancing is maintained.

During the first three days, schools will introduce students to the precautionary measures to be observed while on the school campus.  Preparatory and high school students have to wear cloth face masks.

All schools are required to abide by the instructions issued by the Ministry’s Health and Safety Department on Covid-19 precautionary measures. Relevant brochures and leaflets need to be distributed to parents and students at the beginning of the academic year.

Furthermore, schools should arrange to provide students with rotational attendance schedule for first semester.  The days specified for distance and classroom-based learning should be clearly scheduled. Students should be imparted knowledge on how to use remote learning system smoothly.

Maintain an organized entry and exit system for students with physical distancing in place. Suspend morning assembly and other group activities and celebrations in schools and should be replaced with virtual events.

Specialized, technical, special needs and for remote schools, where the total number of students is only 30 percent of school capacity, the students can attend in full capacity on a daily basis.

Exception of attending school include students who have chronic diseases, as per approved medical report, and students whose parents have chronic conditions. Such students should submit an approved medical certificate and address certificate to the school. But for main exams, the students should attend personally.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.

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