An exciting step on the path to a new post-pandemic higher education environment took place this week when Rabdan Academy students started returning to the campus to study face-to-face for the first time in a year.
To start with there will be a maximum 30% of the university’s students on campus at any one time and the Academy will continue to offer continuity of education by means of a blended mix of online and face-to-face classes until the end of the academic year. Extensive precautions to ensure the safety of the students and staff have been taken, following official direction, with access controls and checks, physical distancing and repeated sanitization being conducted between classes.
While Rabdan’s online teaching has been effective at maintaining the academic progress of the students, their return to the campus allows them to communicate and interact with their colleagues in a way that contributes to achieving the academic goals of the educational process and the wider vision of the Academy to promote cooperation and coordination between relevant national institutions through graduates capable of cooperatively addressing future national security challenges.
“Since last Fall semester, the Rabdan Academy team has proactively been preparing for students to return to study face-to-face at the Academy, as part of a deliberate plan that aims to achieve the goals of the educational system and takes into account the student’s safety and academic achievement, and I am delighted to see them here” said James Morse, President of Rabdan Academy, on welcoming the students back.
"The plan for students to return to study at the campus included a three stage pilot trial, with the Academy being one of the first universities in the country to enable its students to sit for their Fall 2020 mid-term exams at the Academy rather than online and, based on the positive outcome of that initial trial, the Academy continued to test students on campus for the Fall 2020 final exams and Spring 2021 midterm exams,” Morse added.
Dr. Faisal Al-Ayyan, Vice President of the Academy, said: “We are very focused on protecting the interests of our students and raising their level of educational achievement to the highest possible standard. So the Academy’s leadership decided, in view of the decline in the rates of Covid-19 cases in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, that students should return to study partially at the Academy campus as well as online, taking into account the directives of the Ministry of Education and the laws and the procedures in force in the Abu Dhabi government. "
Al-Ayyan added: "Based on Rabdan Academy's preparedness for emergencies, the campus includes spacious classes and these have enabled us to accommodate the attendance of 30% of the academy’s students while maintaining their safety. This will increase students’ communication with each other and their face-to-face access to faculty members, which will be reflected in an increase in the effectiveness of their academic studies and their level of satisfaction. "
Student Salama Ali AlZaabi said, “We thank the Academy’s leadership for this practical step, because returning to study at the campus has many benefits, helping us to communicate with teachers and ask them directly about anything related to the courses we study, as well as allowing us to interact face-to-face with our classmates, which we have really missed. It helps us to strengthen our academic achievement and enhance our social communication. In the future, we will graduate to provide safety, security and defense as members of many different entities in the service of the nation, so it is very important to get to know each other while we are in the study stage and under the umbrella of the Academy.”
The Academy, in coordination with the Health Authority in Abu Dhabi and the concerned authorities, has taken the initiative to provide two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine on the campus, and most students, academics and employees have benefited from this facility or from other government vaccine providers, with more than 88% vaccination rate for students attending courses at the Academy.
As part of the planning process the Student Registration Department maintained communications with parents and stakeholders, taking their opinions and listening to their concerns about the students' return to study from the Academy. In addition to preparing the campus itself, the Academy has also provided appropriate accommodation that takes into account health requirements and the directives of the concerned authorities for students who have returned to study from the Academy.
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