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Dr. Mohammad Al-Arfaj, CEO of Ma’arif for Education and Training
What has been the experience of Ma’arif in conducting e-learning sessions in the new academic year?
Ma’arif for Education and Training (Ma’arif) is one of the largest private school owners and operators in Saudi Arabia for National and International Curriculums. With God’s help, this new academic year we have raised the bar on e-learning delivery and set new benchmarks in the Kingdom with our organized schedule starting from day 1 according to the curriculum . Within the very first week, we have successfully completed more than 23,000 live lectures of e-learning sessions with our students interacting with our teachers. Lectures were delivered online to students, highlighting the advanced and solid digital and technical infrastructure of the Group.
How have students and parents responded to the programme?
Our e-learning programme has been widely successful and greatly received by parents and students. Our parents are extremely pleased with our consistency in providing quality education and for not increasing the numbers of students in our online sessions .The concerted efforts of our team have led to a 93 per cent parent satisfaction rate, underlining the excellence of Ma’arif in providing remote learning sessions.
What were the key concerns of parents and students, and how did you address them, including fee discounts?
We have successfully addressed the concerns of the parents and students regarding the delivery of e-learning and how the future of learning would be. Our online platform MLG (Ma’arif Learning Gateway) has been integrated with Office 365 including Microsoft Teams to secure live streaming sessions. Several remote educational services have been added and the library has been uploaded with all the resources needed for asynchronous access. To alleviate stress, we announced a tuition fee waiver initiative to our families ranging from 10%-100% for students in Manarat Schools, Al Faisalia Islamic Schools, Green Hills International Schools and Nour Al Islam Schools.
What were the preparations you took in the run-up to the new academic year to organise e-learning? Did they include teacher training sessions?
Building on a successful online and interactive learning experience from last year, we carefully designed a plan that blends online and off-line lessons taking into consideration the screen-time students are exposed to during online learning. Our e-learning schedule includes synchronous and asynchronous learning. Most of our lessons are delivered in a synchronous manner where teachers from inside the classrooms, and students at home, are interacting in real time. To ensure parents and students are ready for the new academic term we organised a detailed online orientation session including routines of the online learning and how they have been scheduled. We have also shared our e-learning policies and guidelines with our parents and students prior to the start of the academic year.
What were the key lessons you learnt during the last term, when you had to implement e-learning for the first time? Did this lead to new approaches?