In the new academic year starting on November 1, some 82 per cent of schools in Oman will implement e-learning, ten per cent blended education and seven per cent will offer physical classroom lessons, H E Dr Abdullah bin Khamis Ambosaidi, Undersecretary for Administration and Financial Affairs in the Ministry of Education (MoE), announced on Wednesday.
“We are observing the situation and developments, and there may be some changes later. The educational platforms are open for parents around the clock to view and follow up on the lessons and their children’s progress,” he stated in a virtual press conference.
H E Dr Ambosaidi informed that the ministry started activating virtual classes last week for which there are technical support rooms being operated in two shifts. Instruction hours for students in Grade 1 to 4 will be from 11am to 2pm, Grade 5 to 11 will have classes from 8am to 11am, and Grade 12 from 8am to 2pm.
Parents unwilling to send their children to school must submit a written request in which they also give an undertaking to ensure virtual lessons in lieu of classroom learning.
In the event of an outbreak of the coronavirus in a school, it can be closed. “In which case, classes will be conducted online,” H E Dr Ambosaidi said.
The ministry is continuing to work with telecommunications companies to provide suitable Internet packages for schools.
Addressing the virtual press meet, Dr Ali bin Humaid al Jahwari, director general of the Directorate General of Education at Muscat Governorate, said, “Students in Grade 11 and 12 do not require laptops as they can use the online learning platform through mobile phones.”
The ministry has also developed a manual for school operations, which includes procedures for cleaning staff and guidelines for school bus drivers.
“Cleaning staff members are not allowed in schools during instruction hours. The relevant preventive procedures will be in place and each worker will be assigned a certain work area,” Dr Jahwari informed.
The ministry has listed a set of preventive procedures for bus drivers of schools adopting blended learning to be followed by students.
“Students with high body temperature will not be allowed on the school buses and the occupancy capacity for each bus will not exceed 50 per cent,” said Dr Jahwari.