Nurseries are to Re-open across UAE as Sector Fights for Survival *** Updated with Full Guidelines ***
Background: Nurseries are to Re-open across UAE as Sector Fights for Survival
In a move that has come not a second to soon for nurseries across the UAE, the Ministry of Education, National Emergency and Disaster Management Authority, ADEK and KHDA have today all announced that nurseries must now be prioritised for re-opening. The Sector as a whole encompasses around 1000 nursery schools and Early Learning Centres across the UAE as a whole, directly supporting around 70,000 jobs. Indirectly, the sector provides a critical foundation of the UAE economy. The closure of nursery schools on March 1st, as a response to the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, has had major impacts on employment, families, business and the UAE economy, with parents unable to return to work because of not being able to access early learning for their child(ren). Since March, it is estimated that over one in ten nurseries have closed permanently with the loss of more than 8000 professionals in the sector. Up to half the sector was at serious risk of permanent closure in September had the sector not been given the green light to open. One estimate has put the number of nurseries at risk of permanent closure as high as 75%. If the sector had lost this number of nurseries, economists predicted the impact on the UAE economy would be “critical” with businesses being no longer able to source sufficient employees to operate whilst parents were forced to remain at home to look after their children.
The biggest campaign by nurseries in UAE history
The move to allow nurseries and early learning centres to re-open followed a mass campaign by 79 of the UAE’s leading providers lobbying the UAE government to act urgently to prevent their being forced to close permanently and stop the predicted “full collapse” of the entire sector within days not months. Following the campaign, thousands of UAE families joined the campaign to save nurseries. The full text of the letter written by UAE nurseries, including a list of signatories, follows:
The response of the UAE government, MOE, ADEK and KHDA
The decision to permit nurseries to re-open has been complex for the UAE government as it balances its absolute commitment to protect families and limit the impact of Covid 19 with the needs of children, business, families and the economy. Managing Covid 19 presents very different, much harder challenges given the age of children. A series of safety requirements has, as a result, come with the decision to enable nurseries to re-open, this including a new inspection regime, daily health screens, temperature monitoring and mandatory Covid-19 safety training.
The move is powerfully supported by the KHDA through a direct statement by Dr. Abdullah Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the KHDA:
The Published Plan – In Full and UpdatedCovid 19 Operation of Nurseries and Childcare Centers - First Release
Bottom line? The SchoolsCompared.com View on the Re-opening of Nurseries 2020
There is significant, understandable heat in the debate on how quickly the UAE should re-open its economy – and how. What is not in dispute is that nurseries and early learning centres are absolutely critical within that re-opening. None of us can afford for the “forgotten sector” to be forgotten any longer – it is too important. Beyond the many, many powerful arguments for why early learning should be an integral part of every child’s education – and not an add-on, Covid 19 has brought into very sharp focus just how important the nursery and broader early learning sector is in enabling any modern economy to function.
The issue then is now focused not on when (it must be as soon as possible – this measured in seconds, hours and days, not weeks) but on “how”. We have the plan, but with Covid 19 we must also allow for inevitable changes and teething issues as providers, government and Inspectirates manage the safety of children and families together.
Our view is that the UAE government, bench-marked against governments worldwide, has managed the Covid 19 pandemic exceptionally well. Nurseries, inevitably, given the age of children and complexity of managing their safety, are providing parents, nurseries and the government with challenges. But, in our view, these are not, and cannot be, insurmountable. On the basis of published plans, the safety of young children and their families is being very carefully managed with the capacity of nurseries to deliver the very highest levels of child care and safety.
The decision to re-open nurseries, and with such a high level of care, safety and attention to detail, may well be one of the most important made in this pandemic – we just now all need to work together to ensure that it is the absolute success it must be.
The official KHDA web site can be found here.
The official ADEK web site can be found here.
The official MOE web site can be found here.
© SchoolsCompared.com 2020. All rights reserved.