H.E. Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, said that the inclusion of modern technology and the rehabilitation of students to be able to benefit from its potentials are no longer a matter of controversy or debate in the current era but an imperative necessity, in addition the UAE Vision is based on distinguished national education being the way to achieve national strategies of the transition to an innovation- based knowledge economy.
These statements were included in a working paper submitted by H.E. Al Hammadi to a discussion session during his participation in the Mobile Learning Week 2017 organized by UNESCO, at its headquarters in France from 20 to 24 March 2017 entitled "Education in Emergencies and Crises", in partnership with the UNHCR and in the presence of numerous ministers of education and communications from around the world.
The conference of "Learning Week" aims to increase the contribution of digital technology to implement the "UNHCR Plan 2030" and includes a number of sessions tackling various issues on mobile learning and ensuring learning opportunities for displaced people whose current circumstances deprive them from the enrollment in traditional schools.
Al Hammadi stressed that the issue of technology inclusion in the educational process has become a natural and urgent matter, and the current approach is represented in using modern technology in education, as well as empowering students with the tools of information and communications technology. This approach is one of the priorities of decision-makers and leadership in UAE that seek to the economy of knowledge societies.
H.E. Al Hammadi said that the UAE is undertaking a comprehensive development of education based on the 21st century's techniques, especially digital knowledge and its skills that are the basis for UAE Vision and future direction in the transition to knowledge economy and the National Strategy for Innovation, which will not be achieved without building a distinctive qualitative educational system.
Al Hammadi pointed out that the vision of the UAE Ministry of Education is based on innovative education for a knowledge, pioneering and global society, as well as to develop an innovative Education System for a knowledge and global competitive society, that includes all age groups to meet future labor market demands, by ensuring quality of the Ministry of Education outputs, and provision of best services for internal and external customers.
Al Hammadi added that the Ministry of Education is moving forward in achieving its strategic goals of the year 2017 through ensuring equal education for all, including preschool education, reaching distinguished competence for leading and educational bodies, ensuring the quality, efficiency and governance of educational and institutional and creating safe, supportive and stimulating learning environments, in addition to attracting students to join high education institutions inside and outside the UAE, to meet labor market demands, and in this regard the Ministry of Education is working on enhancing the capabilities of scientific research and innovation according to global competitive standards.
During the session, Al Hammadi presented the UAE successful experience of including modern technology in the educational process, his excellency pointed out that in order to promote the successful transition, frameworks and standards for methodological and supporting materials of the curriculum were developed in a standardized manner and according to all global systems that consider skills and digital knowledge as a key indicator of students performance, such as the inclusion on programming skills in the first cycle of the educational phase.
Al Hammadi said: "in the context of the rapid technological development, we can't rely only on preparing human cadres capable of meeting current demands of labor market, rather we must move forward from a future vision based on preparing human cadres capable of dealing with the future and creating a new labor work stems from creativity and innovation to meet aspirations to develop knowledge economy".
Al Hammadi explained that developing a real knowledge society based on innovation and creativity relies on the holistic view of formulating the student's digital knowledge and its promotion throughout the learning period, both in general and university education, in order to make it a supportive part of the lifelong learning potential, and therefore the UAE is encouraged to establish a single ministry of education aiming at achieving integration.
During the session, his excellency defined the necessary foundations for developing modern education, which is based on information and communications technology, stressing that the basis for UAE success in technology transition relies in the fact that education has embraced a comprehensive electronic system, including providing reliable technological infrastructure to enable all electronic services.
Moreover, Al Hammadi reviewed the phases of the transition of UAE education sector from the traditional approach to modern technology, including that the Ministry of Education has established an advanced and integrated data center to connect the Emirati schools, after upgrading its infrastructure and classrooms according to the highest standards that comply with the requirements of smart learning. The UAE has ranked the fourth in the world index of internet access and use in school education according to the latest Global Competitiveness Report, along with providing qualified teachers who are convinced with the importance of modern technology and the necessity of teaching their students the required skills to benefit from it and access information. It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Education has trained all employees in the educational sector to lead the current transition phase.
Al Hammadi said: "to define our goals, we have determined a number of cognitive, skillful and personal features that should be acquired by our graduates; including creation, thinking, cooperation, bilingual, empowerment of technology, practicing continued learning and effectiveness in knowledge society in its traditional and contemporary dimensions, thus we have made a comprehensive development of curriculum to achieve the above goals, within creative design, innovation, use of technology and a specialized robot laboratory".
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