First Assalam School Records Transition to the 2020-21 School Year, with 497 Children Enrolled
FAS was established in 2019 under EAA’s Together Project in partnership with Qatar’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE), the General Directorate of Endowments under the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, and the Pakistan Welfare Forum (PWF). The school provides access to education for children facing financial barriers, and age or educational gaps. Families can apply for their children that are currently not enrolled in school to attend FAS, and return to formal education. As students at FAS, children will benefit from the school’s tailored support programmes to cover educational gaps created due to being out of school.
Talal Al Hothal, Director of EAA’s Al Fakhoora programme, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional challenges to learning for children around the world, particularly for the most marginalised who face greater barriers to accessing education.Despite the challenge to transition to online education almost overnight, EAA’s First Assalam School managed to ensure continuous access to education through a full digital transition, including virtual support by teaching staff and the delivery of work packs to students. We are proud to build on our commitment as we join hands with our local partners, donors and educators to ensure the fundamental right to education remains undisrupted for every child.”
Director of the General Directorate of Awqaf, Dr Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Ghanem al-Thani, said: “We are pleased to witness the success of the First Assalam School amidst the challenges that the world and the global education sector are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the commitment and collaboration towards a shared goal, bringing quality education to all children in Qatar, that paved the way to this success. We look forward to continuing our support for Education Above All Foundation and the First Assalam School, to positively impact the lives of children in Qatar in line with the overall mission of the General Directorate of Endowments at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.”
During the 2019-20 school year, the First Assalam School recorded a retention rate of 96%, out of which 94% of students passed their current grades. This success was aided by teachers supporting pupils through phone, email and online meeting platforms, which kept the average homework turnover by students at approximately 80%.
In preparation for the new 2020-21 academic year, the school completed its digital transition to Google Classroom as the primary learning platform to deliver feedback, complete assessments and follow tutorial videos, while safeguarding the health and safety of students and teachers.
The transition was aided by EAA’s donation of 529 new laptops in June 2020 for both teachers and students, followed by a donation of 473 WIFI devices from Vodafone with free internet connectivity for all students, until the end of the 2020 – 2021 academic year.
Following a survey conducted by the FAS management, which indicated that 93% of the beneficiary families do not have access to computers in their homes, while 70% do not have WhatsApp, students and their families received trainings and video tutorials for the use of provided laptops and Google Classroom as part of the e-learning transition.
In the same time period, FAS also invested in digital education for its teachers, making it the only educational establishment in the MENA region to achieve the Google Educator Level 1 standard for all teaching staff.
Mr. Hameed Alam, Principal of the First Assalam School, said: “Through the hard work and dedication of our staff, as well as stakeholders, we can be truly proud of the powerful progress made in these difficult times to address the educational needs of our students. With technology-fuelled blended learning, we were able to not only teach students to read and write, but also instil them with confidence and life-long learning habits. Our students have progressed leaps and bounds and will continue to do so with the generous support from our partners.”
Launched in 2017, EAA’s Together Project is dedicated to identifying and addressing the barriers that are keeping children in Qatar from enrolling in school, and providing them with equal access to quality education. Through the Assalam Schools, the Qatar-based initiative aims to enrol children from low-income families via alternative education institutes and programmes. To date, Together has ensured educational access for over 2,187 children.