After imparting education virtually in the past year, private schools in the Sultanate are all set to take the e-learning system to the next level, a study revealed.
Principals of various schools spread across the country believe that readiness for this is very high. Some teachers also find it a good move.
The research project titled 'E-learning in private schools in the Sultanate of Oman during Covid-19 pandemic: Readiness and development requirements’, which was conducted by a team from the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and the Ministry of Education (MoE), came out with positive note on E-learning.
The study investigating the readiness and development requirements of E-learning at private schools in Oman used a sample of 2,292 individuals from 43 private schools from different governorates of Oman, including 43 school principals, 438 teachers, 963 students, and 848 parents.
The project's main findings revolved around the readiness and development requirements of the e-learning system. Indicators of readiness in terms of infrastructure include owning appropriate smart devices that support e-learning (a personal computer or tablet device) most important ones.
Additionally, obtaining technical support when needed, having a clear school plan to implement e-learning, availability of training workshops for educational purposes at schools, as well as schools’ commitment to the rules and regulations governing e-learning that the Ministry of Education issues are other indicators of readiness in terms of infrastructure.
“As for the most prominent requirements of e-learning skills, they are training school professionals on using e-learning platforms and managing electronic chat rooms, using computers and their applications, managing e-learning content, and a mechanism for protecting children from internet risks, especially cyber blackmailing and information security,” said Prof Ali Mahdi Kazem, Principal Investigator of the research.
Among the most prominent infrastructure requirements is the availability of technical support for any problem that may hinder the application of e-learning, the existence of a school-specific platform for e-learning, and the availability of good and sufficient computers.
As far as development requirements are concerned, school principals believe that the levels of requirement is very important, while teachers, students and parents see it as important.
The research carried out by SQU team comprising Prof Ali Mahdi Kazem, Dr Rabeaa al Saqria, Wafa Bany Oraba and Wafa al Housni, and MoE team consisting of Dr Mahmood al Abri, Khalid al Oufi, Wadha al Saadi, and Mohammad al Hadhrami further recommended the private schools to continue to intensify the awareness programmes provided to parents, students and teachers concerning ethics and mechanisms for dealing with e-learning applications, methods of protecting children from the dangers of the internet, especially cyber blackmailing, information security, and realising the importance of education and the ease of employing it in the educational learning process.
It also advised them to continue to implement training programmes for students and their parents to effectively employ e-learning in the educational process, especially in providing students with self-learning skills.