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Tue 19 May 2020 02:27 PM

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Dubai online school sees five-fold surge in students as parents turn away from brick and mortar

Parents are turning to iCademy Middle East amid frustration caused by schools' distance learning during Covid-19, says general manager Cody Claver

Dubai online school sees five-fold surge in students as parents turn away from brick and mortar

Dubai-based online education outfit iCademy Middle East has seen a surge in student numbers since distance learning was enforced by the UAE Government.

General manager Cody Claver told Arabian Business that the latest admissions round, last month, witnessed a five-fold increase in enrolments compared to the same period in 2019.

He said: “Parents are now being a bit more critical about how things are going in their brick and mortar school. They’re looking around to see if there is somebody else actually doing this full-time.

“I would say that enrolments are up significantly, especially in this last month. We’ve had the parents who have made the change from the brick and mortar schools to us, giving it a run, and it’s been quite successful.

“Right now, we’re trending quite strong as we head into the next enrolment season.”

ICademy ME, the only KHDA-registered online school in the emirate, has been operating in the region since 2008 and offers high school diplomas through the American curriculum. They currently have over 700 students.

“What’s different about us is we’re operating form a standard curriculum that’s geared towards an online setting. We’re not trying to cobble together a variety of sources to make an educational experience, it’s all in one place,” said Claver.

Distance e-learning was implemented by all schools after the spring break in March as part of a number of precautionary measures introduced by the government to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

A large number of schools across the country have offered discounts of up to 20 percent on term three fees to help parents dealing with the economic fall-out of the virus.

Academic year fees at iCademy Middle East range from AED11,999 for KG through to year 8 students and AED14,999 for high school.

While Claver conceded the increase may be a result of parents seeking a short-term solution to their child’s learning, he hoped many would view it as a permanent alternative.

“I guess that‘ll be up to the decision of each parent, but from our perspective it is a long-term solution. We have many kids in our school who have been with us for several years,” he said.

KHDA have indicated that schools are scheduled to reopen again for the new academic year in September, although at the same time, they said this may change depending on government advice.

Claver said: “I think the longer the uncertainty hangs in the air, I think that probably plays in our favour.”

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