Combating coronavirus: Abu Dhabi pays school fees of over 8,000 expat students
Over 8,000 students who attend private schools in Abu Dhabi will have their tuition fees either wholly or partially paid thanks to the Authority of Social Contribution - Ma'an's 'Together We Are Good' programme.
The authority's Education Support programme, launched in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) on April 12, aimed to extend tuition fee payment support to families that have been financially impacted by the economic challenges including salary cuts and redundancies following the global Covid-19 outbreak until the end of the current term.
Following thousands of applications received before the April 23 deadline, a carefully considered evaluation process was undertaken by Ma'an and Adek to assess applicants' eligibility based on a variety of factors, including school fee structures and loss of income. As part of the evaluation process, families were asked to provide proof of loss of earnings, including official communications from their employers and certified bank statements spanning the last three months.
While the evaluation remains ongoing, the programme is projected to help around 8,000 children from across the emirate, with 60, 38 and 2 per cent of the total beneficiary families residing in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Al Dhafra Region respectively.
Parents of students aged between 4 and 18, from over 70 nationalities, are set to receive financial support through the 'Together We Are Good' programme, which will be paid to schools directly. Upon finishing the evaluation process, Adek will inform the schools who will reach out to parents directly on the status of their applications. Final decisions are expected by June 4.
Sara Musallam, Chairperson of the Department of Education and Knowledge, said: "As the custodians of education in Abu Dhabi, we are committed to ensuring every child's access to quality education. As such, we continue to collaborate with our partners towards achieving this goal, in line with the astute vision and guidance of our leadership.
"Our partnership with the Authority of Social Contribution - Ma'an on this impactful campaign, represents the solidarity and spirit of social cohesion inherent to Abu Dhabi to mark a positive change within our community and support families to tide them over the crisis without impacting the education of their children. We thank everyone that contributed and extend our appreciation to The Authority of Social Contribution - Ma'an".
Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma'an, said: "I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all the people that contributed funds to help more than 8,000 students with private school fees, and to the organisations in Abu Dhabi that have pulled together and support the 'Together We Are Good' programme with their contribution of learning equipment.
"Thanks to the generosity of the government community, more than 4,000 children across the whole of Abu Dhabi will be able to access essential distance-learning equipment, allowing them to carry on with their all-important studies.
"A student's right to education should not be affected even during these challenging times, and we are delighted to be able to support these talented and enthusiastic young people who are going to be the stars of tomorrow and help shape the future."
Furthermore, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (Adaa), and the generosity of 24 government entities in Abu Dhabi, the programme will provide around 4,000 distance-learning devices, including tablets. The provision of devices came following a request from the community to provide comprehensive resources to enable the children of parents adversely financially affected by the current situation to continue their distance learning education uninterrupted.
In a bid to ensure continuous access to essential learning resources to improve their knowledge and learn new skills at home, students will use the donated devices to keep up with their classmates across Abu Dhabi's private school system.
The donation drive was spearheaded by the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, with generosity extended from several government entities.
These included: the National Advisory Council; the Ruler's Representative Court in Al Ain Region; the Ruler's Representative Court in Al Dhafra Region; Executive Affairs Authority; Department of Education and Knowledge; Department of Health, Abu Dhabi Judicial Department; the Zoo and Aquarium Public Institution in Al Ain; Zayed House for Islamic Culture; Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development; Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Councill and Statistics Center Abu Dhabi.
The Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination, Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority, Media Zone Authority, Human Resources Authority, Khalifa University, Emirates College for Advanced Education, General Administration of Customs in addition to the National Health Insurance Company - Daman and Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) and Abu Dhabi Center for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Activet also contributed to the programme.
Engineer Mohamed Abdelhameed Al Askar, Acting Director General, Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, said: "No matter how old a child is, education is key for every young person as it can help fulfil their potential and ambitions in the future. This is why when we heard about Ma'an's 'Together We Are Good' programme, to help those thousands of families in need so their children can have access to learning equipment that will help improve their knowledge and gain new skills, we immediately wanted to be part of this excellent initiative. Together with the support of other government entities and educational institutions in Abu Dhabi, we are delighted to have contributed around 4,000 pieces of equipment that will make a big difference to their education and everyday life."
The 'Together We Are Good' programme is the first project to come to fruition as a result of Ma'an's Social Fund that allows community contributions to help tackle social challenges. The Social Fund is the official government channel to receive contributions from the community to tackle pressing social challenges.
Participants wishing to contribute financially to 'Together We Are Good' can send SMS messages to 6670 (Dh1,000), 6678 (Dh500), 6683 (Dh100) and 6658 (Dh50). They can also call 8005-MAAN for volunteering and in-kind and financial contributions above Dh1,000 or send messages on WhatsApp on 0543055366. In-kind contributions include equipment, buildings, services, and time, as well as expert volunteering efforts.