Coronavirus: UNESCO praises Saudi Arabia’s successful distance learning initiative

Coronavirus: UNESCO praises Saudi Arabia’s successful distance learning initiative

UNESCO praised Saudi Arabia for its distance learning program that allowed students to study from home during the coronavirus pandemic, Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report praised the ministry for ensuring the “continuation of the remote educational process and maintain[ing] the safety for more than six million students in public schools and universities.”

The Kingdom successfully implemented an internal emergency and crisis plan from February 1 that helped facilitate the move from in-person classes to distance learning, the report added.

Saudi Arabia’s initiative makes it a distance learning “success story,” the UNESCO report said.

Within 10 hours of announcing that schools and higher education facilities would be closed as a preventative measure against the coronavirus, the ministry launched its distance learning initiative.

Twenty TV channels were used to broadcast lessons via satellite so that students from around the country could attend their classes, according to the UNESCO report.

The lessons were also archived and made available on YouTube for students to watch again. They gained more than 61 million views on YouTube.

According to the report, the iEN Enrichment Portal – the free online portal that provides educational services to students, teachers, and parents in the Kingdom – received 19 million visits during the semester.

Four million lectures were recorded during the same time period for two million users, the report said.

Twenty-seven public universities were also able to host two million virtual classes and more than six million panel discussions.

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