Gem-A, the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, has announced plans to host all its upcoming educational courses in an online-only format until February 2021.
The world’s longest serving provider of gemmological education has taken the decision to temporarily suspend in-house teaching at its London Headquarters in response to the current global health crisis and related social distancing requirements.
Its goal is now to continue to offer its globally recognised Gemmology Foundation, Gemmology Diploma and Diamond Diploma courses in a digital environment.
Gem-A CEO Alan Hart says: “Giving students access to leading gemmological education is our number one priority, which is why we are evolving our educational model to adapt to our shared ‘new normal’.
“Like all education providers, we are assessing each new piece of information as it unfolds, but we have made this decision now and without delay so we can confidently prepare for the future and continue to offer our world class education.”
Gem-A is now strengthening its online offering, adding further interactive elements to its courses to enhance student engagement. In-keeping with its ethos of thorough theoretical and practical knowledge for all students, Gem-A will continue to require students to attend in-person practical lab classes as part of their training.
These practical classes – hosted across three days or five days – will be carefully organised with the Association’s existing network of Gem-A Approved Practical Providers (GAPPs) to accommodate social distancing and reduce group numbers.
Extra lab classes will be scheduled for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021 in a bid to provide greater opportunities for online-only students to complete their studies.
Students will be encouraged to attend a lab class close to them, rather than travelling to the Gem-A Head Office in London unnecessarily.
Those from across the UK, European Union and United States will also have access to the Gem-A Stone Library – a service that allows students to borrow gemstone sets for practical, hands-on learning in the comfort of their own homes.
Looking ahead, Gem-A is reviewing its existing examination procedures and policies and will update students as more detailed information becomes available.
Hart continues: “While none of us could have predicted this unusual and worrying situation, we are doing what we can to minimise the disruption to our students and help more people find their feet as gemmologists.
“This shift towards online learning, now for all our courses, will no doubt lead to exciting conversations about the future of Gem-A education, paving the way for a new landscape of online distance learning that is just as rigorous and worthwhile as our in-person education.”
To find out more about online study with Gem-A, please visit: gem-a.com/education/study-options/online
A complete list of Gem-A Approved Practical Providers can be found here: gem-a.com/education/study-options/practical-provider