UAE Ministry of Education warns against unaccredited home schooling programmes
Ministry says diplomas from unaccredited online schools will not be recognised locally
The Ministry of Education has warned parents against enrolling their children in unaccredited home schooling or online school programmes.
The UAE closed schools and universities across the country in March to prevent the spread of Covid-19, offering e-learning to pupils instead.
While the decision was made in the interest of public health, it placed more responsibility on parents to supervise their children and ensure they were completing their school tasks at home. That, coupled with financial constraints caused by the impact of coronavirus on the economy, led to many parents calling for reduced tuition fees. Some even began to consider pulling their children out of schools and enrolling them in established online schools or home schooling them instead.
Local schools have responded to this by saying any pupil that does not complete the academic year through e-learning will not be eligible to proceed to the next grade.
On Monday, the ministry warned parents not to be drawn in by cheaper fees lest their children's diplomas not be recognised locally.
"Parents should be aware not to be driven by offers to enrol their children in international schools outside the UAE, or to pursue distance studies via their interactive educational platforms for a low tuition fee, in case student certificates are not accepted and approved by the ministry," it said on Twitter.
The UAE's education authorities have yet to decide how pupils would be taught next term after three months of distance learning due to the virus outbreak. Schools across the country have said they are preparing for e-learning to carry on to August and possibly into 2021.
Parents previously told The National they were considering teaching their young children a basic curricula themselves, rather than pay as much as Dh60,000 per year in primary school fees.
While homeschooling and forms of parent-taught online education has gained popularity, the vast majority of parents in the UAE send their children to brick and mortar schools. More than one million children attend 1,262 private and public schools, and only a handful of parents opt for to teach their children at home.
Critics of homeschooling claim the quality of the education taught by parents may vary considerably, and that in some cases forms of abuse that could have been spotted by a teacher could go unnoticed.
Updated: June 8, 2020 10:40 PM