Twenty new Qatari schools have started incorporating electronic learning (e-Learning) into their curriculum this year, bringing the number of schools using the system to 50. By school year 2014-2015, all Qatari schools will be expected to implement the e-Learning experience in their classrooms, according to the Supreme Education Council of Qatar.
This will make Qatar the first Arab country to apply this modern system
The use of new technology aims to keep pace with the modern learning methods used in developed countries, according to the council. It allows students to communicate with their teachers, do their homework, and review what they have studied in the classroom electronically.
It also allows parents to reach out to the school and follow up on their children's progress.
Teachers can upload lessons and educational material online, send homework electronically and record the behavior and attendance of their students. "E-learning has become an urgent need and a necessity, rather than a luxury, as some might think," computer teacher Ibrahim al-Tamimi told Al-Shorfa.
Internet and modern technology are in ample supply, which should reflect positively on the educational process in Qatar
"The world today is taking strides, and therefore we have to jump steps in order to keep up the pace," he said. "I think there is good potential in Qatar to apply this system, since we have the highest percentages of modern technology usage in the region," al-Tamimi added. "Internet and modern technology are in ample supply, which should reflect positively on the educational process in Qatar".
Al-Tamimi believes that one of the main hurdles that could face the implementation of e-Learning will not be in the students but rather in the teachers, "as many of them are far-removed from the digital world". "This has prompted the Supreme Education Council to offer private courses to 600 [primary and secondary school] teachers in order to improve their performance in dealing with modern technology," he added.
School principal Ilham al-Ali told Al-Shorfa that preparations are under way to implement e-Learning in all schools.
Educational authorities are currently seeking to close the gaps in some schools before they all go digital in 2014
Educational authorities are currently seeking to close the gaps in some schools before they all go digital in 2014, she said. "I was in one of the sub-committees that followed up on the mechanisms of implementing e-Learning in Qatar," she said. "I can say that this experience has resonated throughout the schools where it was launched in 2011. Therefore, such an experience and its expansion to all schools will reflect positively on education in Qatar."
Jamal Saeed, a secondary school teacher, said, "The provision of digital content is aligned with Qatar's educational curricula, making it easier for both students and teachers to access electronic content that is identical to the courses required". "This also makes it easier for students to review lessons individually, and reduces the time it takes for teachers to search for suitable material to enhance the lesson," he said.
There is also an initiative that aims to provide a personal computer for each student and teacher, enabling them to access all systems and electronic content
There is also an initiative that aims to provide a personal computer for each student and teacher, enabling them to access all systems and electronic content, according to Saeed. The device would contain digital versions of books used, allowing students to leave behind their print books and lighten their schoolbags, he said.