Since Sunday 22 March, the 10,000 pupils of the seven French schools in the United Arab Emirates have been back to school… remotely and online!
In order to limit the spread of Covid-19 and to protect students and teaching staff, the UAE government has taken the decision to close the schools until Summer 2020. The French high schools have shown reactivity and innovation to allow their students to continue their learning – almost – normally.
The implementation of e-learning
The seven high schools took advantage of the pupils’ holidays to prepare this new school semester like no other. All of the educational teams are taking up this technical and pedagogical challenge every day, demonstrating flexibility and creativity. Pronote, Zoom, Whatsapp, Google Classroom, Seesaw, etc. are all used to enable students and teachers to keep in touch.
From the first day of this special back to class, a participation rate close to 90% was recorded by the high schools and only few technical problems were noted. The feedbacks from the parents and pupils are positive and everyone seems to be gradually finding their own rhythm, even if the workload has surprised many: being home-schooled is not an easy task!
The multiplicity of initiatives and arrangements shows the dynamism and involvement of the teaching teams. In addition to the synchronous activities in whole classes, which allow students to return to an – almost – normal setting, or in small groups to better individualize the teaching, there are also video capsules, recordings and exercises to be done alone, allowing each student to become more independent.
The strength of the network of French education abroad
While the responsiveness of the teams of teachers of French high schools in the United Arab Emirates is to be commended, the support provided by the AEFE, MLF and AFLEC networks is also to be congratulated in these troubled times. In fact, 522 schools are linked to the AEFE in 139 countries, i.e. about 370,000 pupils: since school closures are now imposed almost everywhere, the high schools have been able to exchange and share their experience. Pedagogical continuity is a priority everywhere, and is ensured first and foremost by the teachers, whose commitment, dedication and expertise are recognized by all; it is also ensured by the important intermediaries, namely coordinators, referents, principals, principals, headmasters, educational advisers, the Inspectors of the Ministry and the families themselves.
Numerous online educational resources
In addition to the e-learning courses provided by French high schools, a large number of websites offer content for parents and students. The multiplicity of sources and data can quickly appear illegible and create confusion. In order to offer reliable and certified sites, the Ministry of National Education and Youth launched the “Nation Apprenante” label at the beginning of the crisis. Created with France Télévisions, Radio France, Arte and TV5 Monde, this label lists a large number of quality podcasts, articles, videos and books related to school programmes. History, geography, mathematics, philosophy…: there is something for all ages and all tastes! The CNED with the “my class at home” program is also a solid reference, which offers one-month educational paths for all levels.
Although it is still early to analyse the use of these online platforms and to study the consequences of coronavirus on education, yet please find two highly recommended programmes on this subject that offer food for thought.
- Culture and education: https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/emissions-speciales/education-et-culture
- School while corona: https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/les-pieds-sur-terre/lecole-au-temps-du-corona
And beyond the purely academic, you can also find our cultural recommendations by clicking here!
Here the speech of H.E. Ludovic Pouille, French Ambassador.
Further information about French High Schools in the United Arab Emirates