On Thursday, April 30th, 2020, the president of Al Maaref University, Dr. Ali Alaeddine held a virtual meeting with the university’s full-time instructors, by which he discussed the latest updates regarding “distance- learning” and all the academic- calendar, annual plan, and the procedures’ changes that occurred as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
At the start, the president started the meeting by wishing everyone and their families a blessed month of Ramadan, and by stressing that the University is going through an unexpected phase that wasn’t foreseen in any way- and it was a big challenge, but “thank God we’ve succeeded in facing that challenge and we proved our capabilities in encountering difficulties.”
Dr. Alaeddine added, “Since day one of this crisis, we took all the appropriate precautions’ measures, and we conducted our all meetings virtually”. On a remark, he pointed out that it was so clear that the challenge was there since the decision was taken in closing out universities- and “an audacious decision was needed at that time to continue the academic semester, so we started our preparations as you made the bigger effort, and the number of the participating students reached 80% in some courses and 100% in others. We tried hard to be there in supporting our students- knowing and taking into consideration the poor infrastructure for distance-learning in Lebanon.”
The president thanked the instructors for all the efforts put, and for the pressures that they’ve encountered, and stressed that “the whole circumstance wasn’t easy for us, you, and our students on preparation, motivational, and application level.” Pointing out that the priority now is to complete the academic semester and the importance of following up and staying in contact with students to encourage them to continue, and to emphasize that taking advantage and benefiting from the semester is more important than finishing it, and he added: “we care for our students just like we care for our own children.”
During the meeting, he raised some decisions that were taken lately concerning the mass mobilization, and part of it the decision about returning to universities’ campuses- and that would be as a primary date on 27/5/2020. The president assured that the university will be carrying all the needed precautions to conduct the final exams at the university’s campus. Further, he clarified that “in case we weren’t able to be on campus- we are making all preparations to hold finals virtually- and we assigned a committee to take care of this task- taking into account all the available resources for students- and the university’s council will determine the applicable standards-and in that sense, the appropriate decision will be taken soon.”
Moreover, Dr. Alaeddine emphasized the necessity to start planning for the upcoming stage and to prepare a complete study for the summer semester, students’ graduation, and the possibility of having support and major courses. In addition to starting the preparation for the coming academic year and focus on distance-learning and its development, he added: “We can integrate that, to a certain level, with our teaching procedure- so the team must be prepared and ready for this mission.” It was also pointed out that “we are preparing some suggestions and forming a committee to serve that goal, so we need to prepare training sessions for full and part-time instructors during the summer semester, to improve the learning procedure and ensure maximum benefit for our students.”
The president concluded by saying: “The challenges are heavy by all means, but the determination, patience, initiative, responsibility, and our concern towards our students’ future, pushed us to be soldiers to provide all we have accomplished during this stage.”
“We thank you again and we highly appreciate all your efforts, we ask Almighty and the Most Powerful to help us to stand side by side and next to each other and to have all the strength and competence in facing those challenges, and in trusting one's soul to Allah- we have the immense ability to achieve anything.”
At the end of the meeting, the president gave answers to questions and concerns.