7,500 students benefit from online education initiative by Abdullah Al Ghurair Foundation in UAE

from left Wafaa Al Habach, Dr.Issam Srour, Dr.Mohamad Baniyas, Cindy Bonfini-Hotosz and moderator Tim Sowula: PHOTO Ahmad Alotbi/Gulf News

Dubai: More than 7,500 students from around the world have benefited from an online education project set up by the UAE Ministry of Education (MoE), the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation and nine universities in the UAE

The result of the project called ‘University Consortium for Quality Online Learning (UCQOL)’ between the entities over the last two years has resulted in eight blended courses being launched for the students to take online. Sixty seven faculty members have been specially trained to deliver the technology driven courses to students.

Dr Hassan Obaid Al Mheiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Accreditation and Educational Services at the UAE Ministry of Education said: “The focus is on delivering quality education to students. We want to create a balance of education between online and traditional in person classes. There is no percentage attached to how much we will focus on online or traditional learning.”


PHOTO Ahmad Alotbi/Gluf News


Al Mheiri was speaking on the sidelines of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation’s quarterly ‘Thought Leadership Series’ event which saw educators, industry experts and decision makers to give their support for online learning.

Dr Al Mheiri told Gulf News that more details would be announced about the new AI tutoring initiative announced by UAE Minister of Education Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi. “We are looking at the future and what students need for their learning,” he added.

Dr. Al Mheiri said: “The global market for online learning is set to reach $350 billion by 2025, the demand to ensure that online education is user-friendly, sustainable and in alignment with the market needs is imperative. It is critical that we keep improving and renewing the teaching and learning methodologies in higher education with a focus on long lasting, scalable, qualitative approaches to keep pace with continuous change around us.”


Sultan Al Ghurair, Board Member, Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation PHOTO :Ahmad Alotbi/Gluf News


Sultan Al Ghurair, Board Member of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation could not agree more. “The aim of the consortium is to work with the local universities to take online learning to a new level. We are developing tools to deliver quality education to students. The future is here and we need to adapt to changing times.”

Al Ghurair added: “We have been early adaptors of technology driven education tools to enable students with quality education.”

In its third edition, the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation’s quarterly Thought Leadership Series event aims to convene key stakeholders to address some of the most pressing issues in education today and cultivate knowledge sharing that will aid the transformation that the higher education sector demands.


About the consortium initiative

The initiative was launched in 2020 in partnership with the Ministry of Education and nine leading universities of the region to build the capacity of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the online education ecosystem. “The multi-phased project has so far successfully launched eight premium blended courses with the support of university administrators, knowledgeable faculty, and expert instructional designers,” said Al Ghurair, adding 67 faculty have been trained to deliver these programmes.

Al Ghurair added: “Strengthening education systems holistically is part of the Foundation’s mandate. The Consortium is founded on the work we have done with MIT, AUB, AUC and ASU over the last seven years in a sustained effort to practically champion embedding technology-enabled premium education options in the higher education sector of the region.”


DR.Sonia Ben Jaafar remarking at the event:Ahmad Alotbi/Gulf News