ACK President Prof Isam Zabalawi

KUWAIT: Prof Isam Zabalawi, President of the Australian College of Kuwait (ACK), representing the College, participated in an electronic workshop organized by Kuwait Foundation for the Advancements of Sciences (KFAS) titled 'Distance Learning - Challenges and Opportunities.'

The workshop was organized based on the vision of KFAS in support of a sustainable practical culture, and within the framework of the emergency response program for the COVID-19 pandemic, and in line with the strategic goals of the Ministry of Education. The workshop was held in order to highlight the success stories and research on the challenges facing distance learning in Kuwait, and also to discuss effective solutions that can be followed to successfully implement distance learning in Kuwait.

The workshop included two sessions, the first titled: 'Electronic Higher Education - Challenges and Opportunities after the Effects of the Corona Pandemic,' and the second entitled: 'General Education under the Conditions of the Corona Pandemic.'

The participation of Prof Zabalawi came in the first session, where he highlighted the importance of working to develop distance learning and preparing instructors and students to succeed in it. He stressed the importance of training faculty members to prepare the teaching material to be compatible with the data of distance education, along with training students to use information and communication technology tools, and to interact with educational platforms.

Further in this regard, Prof Zabalawi said: "Distance education includes visual and audio teaching material, data, and interaction between instructor and student; therefore, a training program must be provided for faculty members to enable them to prepare for the use of distance learning (e-learning) platforms."

Prof Zabalawi also explained the first experience for ACK students with distance learning (e-learning) encouraged them to enroll in the following stages, meaning that the demand for the summer semester was greater than the demand for the spring-continuation semester. He also stressed that from ACK's distance learning (e-learning) experience; successfully implementing a student-centric approach is easier in distance learning than in traditional classroom learning.

In conclusion, Prof Zabalawi invited KFAS to collaborate with universities to work on developing projects to build laboratories that can be operated remotely to serve different specializations. He also highlighted the importance of focusing on the development of distance learning as it is uncertain when the COVID-19 pandemic will pass; therefore it is a necessity to be prepared in a serious and practical manner for distance learning in the coming semesters.