Abu Dhabi, UAE, 12 May 2020: In a bid to ensure no student is left behind, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has partnered with Yahsat to provide free satellite broadband services for distance learning students residing in the Al Dhafra Region. With ADEK's support, Yahsat, the leading satellite operator in the UAE, will offer its services free of charge to ensure continuity of distance learning for students until the end of the current academic year.
This initiative is the latest in a series of strategic partnerships that ADEK forged with technology providers ahead of the transition to distance learning earlier in March of this year. These key partnerships seek to equip all schools and students with the needed resources, connectivity and devices to ensure that students can continue their distance learning journey uninterrupted, while staying safe at home.
Yahsat's high-speed satellite broadband will provide internet access in areas that previously lacked connectivity, enabling students and faculty to access a wide range of online resources, including e-learning and collaboration platforms, online libraries and educational applications.
Ahead of the closure of schools in light of social distancing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the UAE, ADEK carried out a comprehensive evaluation to assess the overall readiness of schools for distance learning. The exercise encompassed assessing the existing e-learning infrastructure and ensuring the availability of devices and connectivity across schools and homes in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, while identifying several students based in the Al Dhafra Region with no reliable access to internet connectivity, thus spurring the collaboration with Yahsat to provide a timely and effective alternative solution.
Additional key partnerships forged by ADEK with technology and education providers include those with Alef Education, Microsoft Teams, Class Dojo, among others. To date, ADEK has provided over 15,150 tablets, 7,000 SIM cards, and 3,000 MiFi devices to facilitate distance learning.
H.E. Sara Musallam, Chairperson of ADEK, said: “Since the roll-out of distance learning in March, we have been fortunate to work with forward-thinking partners who are as passionate as ADEK about ensuring that the delivery of quality education to Abu Dhabi's learners remains uncompromised. Our collaboration with Yahsat was essential in providing much needed support to students in remote areas where connectivity was a challenge, effectively equipping them for a smooth and effective distance learning experience. I know these are challenging times for families and schools alike and I appreciate the trust they placed in ADEK to guide and navigate the way forward. We are all in this together, and such partnerships are a prime example of how the government of Abu Dhabi remains committed to ensuring alternative and immediate solutions are made available, regardless of any circumstances that may arise.
Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer of Yahsat, spoke of the company's collaboration with ADEK: “In the present scenario, education has changed dramatically with the emergence of e-learning whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. As the UAE's sole provider of advanced satellite communications solutions, it is Yahsat's mission to support the country's student community by deploying resources to provide crucial internet connections in their hour of need. By joining forces with ADEK, Yahsat has contributed to a stable and responsive learning ecosystem in the Al Dhafra Region over our satellite network. We are extremely grateful to ADEK for giving us this opportunity to serve our nation and ensure continuity of distance learning.”
ADEK's collaboration with Yahsat will see technical teams visit homes across the Al Dhafra region to fully equip them with the necessary hardware and software solutions that will enable access to satellite internet connectivity.