Minister for Education Hussain Al Hammadi said that UAE schools may continue blended learning in the next academic year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Al Hammadi said he firmly hoped to see all pupils back in class in September 2021 – but that it was too early to call.
Most government-run schools are closed currently, while private school operators are running a mix of e-learning and in-class teaching.
But the model for next year is expected to be the closest to normality since February 2020, when the pandemic disrupted global education.
“Next year hopefully we are back to normal, but it’s still too early to call, But you are aware, with this pandemic, nothing is for sure,” he said.
“For now, we have some schools selecting physical attendance. And parents can choose [whether to send their children], since we are still in pandemic.”
A major vaccine drive has already seen 52 per cent of the population protected against coronavirus. Much of the remainder is forecast to be inoculated by the autumn.
Al Hammadi said despite the unrivalled disruption during the pandemic, teachers, parents and the country’s leaders had ensured pupils continued their education.
A Ministry of Education spokesperson added that the decision would be based on the pandemic situation later this year.
“The nature of school attendance in the next academic year depends on the health conditions,” it said.
“We cannot determine or predict now how it is going to be. The matter is subject to following the health developments one step at a time.
“The decision will surely be in the interest of our students and teaching staff.”