UAE teachers, parents and pupils share Dh1 million in prize money for distance learning

More than 70 educators and pupils from public schools across the country awarded cash prizes as part of the Alef Education Award

Pupils, teachers and parents across the UAE walked away with prize money totalling Dh1 million on Wednesday for their efforts towards digital and distance learning during the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 70 educators and pupils from public schools were awarded cash prizes as part of the Alef Education Award.

The winners took home prizes starting at Dh6,000 up to Dh50,000.

Three educators were chosen from Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Al Ain under the Distinguished Alef Cluster Leader category, with Ayesha Mohamed Alzaabi bagging the top prize of Dh50,000.

Quote
When I started using the online platform in the pandemic it was very new to me but I was able to improve my performance and learn better because I could log in any time, not just during lesson time
Abdulla Albusmait, Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi Boys School in Fujairah

She has worked in the education sector for more than 30 years.

“I am in charge of seven schools and I tried, through this award, to encourage schools to improve their performance using the Alef Platform,” she said.

“This prize does not highlight a personal achievement but instead recognises the collective efforts of all those schools.”

Under an agreement last year with the Ministry of Education, Alef Education implemented its online learning platform at 196 schools in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the temporary closure of schools, about 40,000 pupils have since learnt by watching videos, reading digital content and answering interactive questions.

Abdulla Albusmait, 12, from the Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi Boys School in Fujairah, bagged second prize in the Most Improved Alef Student category. He took home Dh6,000.

“When I started using the online platform in the pandemic it was very new to me but I was able to improve my performance and learn better because I could log in any time, not just during lesson time,” he said.

“It helped me to do my homework, study, and prepare for upcoming classes, which made a lot of things easier for me.

“I was a bit lazy with my studies before, but I was excited about it when my grades started to improve and I liked using the tablet.”

For her efforts, mother-of-three Bara Mahmoud Ahamarneh won Dh10,000 in the Distinguished Parent category.

Speaking about her son, Faisal Rami Alhreimi, who is in Grade 7 at Al Ghazali School in Abu Dhabi, she said the remote learning phase was challenging but allowed her to engage more in her son’s studies.

“When Alef Education announced the award ceremony, I liked the fact that they included the Most Improved Student category, recognising not only the top-ranking and distinguished pupils but also those who have capabilities to improve their skills,” she said.

“This is very important as it teaches the students that there’s always another chance in life to succeed and achieve our goals. It has encouraged my son.”

“Since I am always providing my son with the support and encouragement to perform better and develop his skills, I thought it would be a good idea to participate in this award and wow, I am honoured that I won.”

She said she has yet to decide what to do with the Dh10,000 prize, but her son does want a mobile phone, so she may treat him.

The Alef online platform uses artificial intelligence to track pupils' progress and will move them on to the next lesson only if they are able to answer enough questions correctly.

The programme also produces reports that can be reviewed by teachers so they can determine if certain topics need to be covered again.

The Alef Education award ceremony was first launched in 2020, given the increased importance of digital learning in the UAE against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Updated: November 11th 2021, 10:19 AM
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