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WATCH: Goosebump-inducing, Inspirational, KHDA Movie exposé of how Dubai schools handled the pandemic

Background – KHDA movie exposé of how Dubai schools handled the pandemic.

The year 2020 was all set to be an amazing one for Dubai. With Expo due to kick off in the Autumn, the education community could not have been more thriving when the new decade first began.

There were 209 private schools, 26 universities, and nearly 300,000 students, alongside 18,00 teachers, and a million different hopes for the future.

Everyone had big plans.

And then?

Everything stopped.

This is how the spine-tingling new documentary on Dubai’s education sector opens, setting the scene for what happened when the worst pandemic in living memory paralysed the globe.


Pandemic panic hits schools worldwide

Overnight, schools, universities and nurseries across the world slammed their doors shut, recalls the documentary. Children were isolated inside – away from their friends and teachers – while parents struggled to cope with childcare and working from home.


But, while children’s education in many countries suffered extreme disruption – often ceasing all together for large periods of time – this was not the case in Dubai.

“Our education and learning drive will never stop, no matter the circumstances,” announced His Highness Sheikh Mohammad, ruler of Dubai and prime minister of the UAE – and this is the sentiment that the team at Dubai’s private school regulator, the KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Authority), says inspired them to keep going against all odds. “I don’t think anyone got any sleep during that time,” remembers Hind Al Mualla, a KHDA team member.

In the first two weeks after schools first closed the KHDA says it answered more than 2,000 emails, received over 12,000 messages on social media and more than 4,000 hits on

But where hardship could have divided people, it actually brought them together.

Without skipping a beat, the KHDA launched the ‘In This Together Dubai’ campaign just one week after schools switched to remote learning, an initiative designed to engage the community and help parents navigate the new normal.


Resilience in adversity

“In dark times, the spirit of the people in Dubai was shining through,” says the documentary voiceover, as the film goes on to interview head teachers, pupils and parents about how the community supported one another to enable education to continue online in people’s homes, while COVID-19 wrought havoc outside.

“We got offers and suggestions from organisations and people we both knew and didn’t know. They all wanted to know how they could support the education system. Everyone was asking how they could support,” says Al Mualla.

In the KHDA-led ‘What Works X’ virtual gatherings, teachers in schools that were once rivals combined forces and shared insights on what initiatives and technologies were working best to deliver the highest quality of education for Dubai’s young people.

What could have been an unmitigated disaster turned into an opportunity for innovation and technological advancement.

The first three of six three-minute clips of this riveting and emotional documentary have already dropped on the KHDA’s social media channels, with the remaining clips set to be released this week.

Prepared to be wowed…


WATCH: Part one of Dubai school documentary

WATCH: Part two of Dubai school documentary

WATCH: Part three of Dubai schools documentary

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About The Author
Tabitha Barda
Tabitha Barda is the Senior Editor of Oxbridge educated and an award winning journalist in the UAE for more than a decade, Tabitha is one of the region's shining lights in all that is education in the emirates. A mum herself, she is passionate about helping parents - and finding the stories in education that deserve telling. She is responsible for the busy 24x7 News Desk, our Advisory Boards and Specialist Panels - and Parents United's WHICHPlaydates - a regular meeting place for UAE parents to discuss the issues that matter to them, make friends and network with others. You can often find Tabitha too on Parents United - our Facebook community board, discussing the latest schools and education issues with our parent community in the UAE - and beyond.

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