Radical transformations in Emirati School Model to render it an intellectual complex for brain industry and pioneering innovation: Hussain Al Hammadi
HE Hussain Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, has affirmed that the future needs to be properly prepared inasmuch as a motivating environment needs to be created to attain the glory we seek. Through the National Science, Technology and Innovation Festival we look forward to deepening the generations' commitment to innovation and highlighting the innovations of our students and their intellectual outputs with a view to pioneering the business markets and establishing a new and radical approach as embodied in rendering the Emirati School Model an inspiring station and an innovative complex for brain industry and a starting point for future generations in the fields of science, technology and innovation.
"We are before an extraordinary stage of development and progress where there is no room for any slowdown and all of us are partners for establishing a state-of-the-art educational system in the UAE and leveraging the capabilities offered by the wise leadership by seizing the available opportunities and taking part in the improvement and development process", he said.
Al Hammadi said so in his inaugural address to the third edition of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Festival, which is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces at Dubai Festival Arena between January 31 and February 4.
In addition to Al Hammadi, the launching ceremony was attended by HE Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development; HE Jameela Bint Salem Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education; HE Mariam Al Mehairi, Minister of State for Food Security; HE Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences; HE Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, HE Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security; HE Saud Al Mahtami, Secretary General of King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba); and Dr. Farouk Hamada, Religious Advisor at the Court of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. It was also attended by many educators, officials, interested people, students and parents.
Starting his speech by thanking His highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Al Hammadi said: "Words fall short of expressing the debt of gratitude that we owe him. On my behalf and in the name of the education community, we thank him for his contribution, attention and constant care for education and students. At the same time, we pledge that our firm approach will always be based on excellence, diligence and keenness on achieving more educational milestones."
This educational event, as embodied in the National Science, Technology and Innovation Festival, is the fruit of the government's attention, the wise leadership's orientations and the national plans aimed at rendering innovation a working methodology and a value that takes root in UAE's sectors, institutions and individuals, he added.
"Every year, the Ministry of Education seeks to develop and improve the agenda of the 5-day festival by calling on all parents, students, educators and education experts to share with us its rich activities and benefit from it in the presence of the pioneers of education and innovation", he said.
He explained that as many as 200 innovative research projects by our students had been selected out of 912 projects in the fields of chemistry; physics; mathematics; biological, environmental, social and behavioral sciences; and technology to be showcased in the festival. At a later stage, the students' winning projects would be showcased at Al Bahr Palace to be seen by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, he said, adding that the festival also features three forums that discuss how to enhance innovation strategies to support the UAE's orientations.
Al Hammadi pointed out that a few days ago, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced the allocation of AED5 billion to invest in education over 6 years and the adoption of the Emirati School Model. He quoted HH Sheikh Mohammed as saying: "We want the Emirati School Model to be a hub for future and innovative thinking industry." This is an invitation for all to continue to develop and show commitment and a sense of responsibility in fulfilling the aspirations of the wise leadership, he said.
He explained that a few years ago, the Ministry of Education made a radical change in the educational system as per a carefully crafted educational plan that would pave the way for enhancing the UAE students' innovation skills in all fields and help the ministry move to the age of sustainable knowledge.
The ministry looks at education not just as an education system but as a system that adapts to the global changes and the economic updates of countries, he said, noting that the ministry developed an accurate chart to make the Emirati School Model a place for knowledge to be produced by researchers, knowledge leaders, startups, national laboratories and universities in such a manner that improves and speeds up the students' learning process.
"In light of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which began to shape the dimensions of the future, we must follow the ramifications and outputs of this stage. Based on this, it was incumbent on us to introduce an effective and sustainable education system that meets future needs, bolsters the skills and capabilities of our students and renders them more innovative", he said.
Al Hammadi wound up his speech by thanking again His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for this ongoing support and patronage, which renders the concerned people stronger and more ambitious and determined to carry on the UAE process of development. He also thanked all the ministry's work teams for their concerted efforts to create an innovative educational environment for the benefit of students and the society. Finally, he wished the attendants 5 days of fun, learning and excellence during the National Science, Technology and Innovation Festival.
In her speech during the inauguration ceremony, HE Jameelah Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education, stressed the importance of the festival as an umbrella under which all gather together annually to celebrate the achievements of our students as well as their adventures and experiences in the world of the future, which is full of passion and curiosity based on exploration, reflection and pleasure.
The human societies and the economies of countries were based on people's search for information around them and their attempt to assimilate and connect such information and then employ it properly for the development of people and life and building the future, she said, underscoring the importance for individuals to be curious and have passion and spirit of adventure because curiosity motivates the brain to seek creative thinking and is the basis of pleasure, not to mention that it is behind the development and prosperity of the UAE.
Al Muhairi believed that the festival is an ideal opportunity as it features many activities that would inspire the audience, create various distinguished experiences for them and make them wonder and explore in a stimulating and enjoyable environment.
She called on students to be curious and passionate for the UAE and its future. Such curiosity and passion, coupled by the experiences that they gain in the various scientific and academic fields and their scientific achievements would shape the future of the UAE and hence students should continue to learn and keep up the good work.
In her speech during the inaugural session of the festival, HE Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for Care and Activities Sector, reviewed how the festival developed since the innovation initiatives were launched in 2015, noting that the festival began as an exhibition but, thanks to concerted efforts, turned into a national festival that celebrates our students and their innovations and an umbrella for their creative ideas. The festival turned into an annual event and the cynosure for all innovators inside and outside the UAE, she said.
"Every story has a leader and we in the UAE were inspired by our wise leadership, which raised our ambitions and sharpened our passion for excellence. As a result, an education system was born and began to grow and develop minute after minute to make leaders of the future, inspired by the world's best practices in the field of education", she said.
Praising the role of parents in supporting the educational process in the country, Al Shamsi said: "Parents are partners of our success and we rely heavily on their support, which has a great effect on the development of our performance and our journey towards creativity and excellence, armed with our absolute belief in the capabilities and skills of our students.
She explained that although the educational process is full of achievements but has challenges as well. That is why the ministry took upon itself to prepare ambitious and empowered generations that look at innovation as a firm approach and a renewed and sustainable mode of thinking, she added.
"An increasing number of our students attend the festival every year. They are full of optimism and determination to achieve honorable results that respond to the aspirations of our leadership and simulate advanced levels of creativity and knowledge", she said.
Later, Zack King, a global YouTube star, gave an exciting show at the inaugural session of the festival, which highlighted the role of technology in making quantum leaps in professional photography.
"We must have a goal that we seek to achieve when we use technology, which we must employ to serve the society, environment, education and other vital issues", he said.
The festival is an anticipated annual event that constitutes an important pillar for consolidating the ministry's vision of achieving innovative pioneering education for skilled generations in line with the UAE's orientations and UAE Vision 2021, which focuses on making innovation an essential feature of the UAE society.
The festival, which aims to achieve a set of educational objectives supported by selected programs, activities and events to establish innovation as a lifestyle, is seeing the participation of around 1,665 male and female students. During the festival, some 200 innovative projects will be showcased out of 912 innovative projects produced by the the Emirati School Model students.
In a bid to improve its orientations by expanding its targets, the ministry increased the number of projects likely to win the competition to 200 projects, the most outstanding of which will be selected for display at Al Bahr Palace in Abu Dhabi as part of the National Science Week 2019. The move is aimed at motivating the students, increasing their passion for knowledge, improving their academic performance and enabling them to take part in dedicated international exhibitions and forums.
A number of official spokesmen including innovation pioneers from all over the world will participate in the festival, which is substantially supported by UAE government and private institutions and entities.
The festival is in line with the wise leadership's aspirations and orientations aimed at empowering the generations in the fields of science, technology and innovation, these being an essential engine for the advancement of societies and a catalyst for entering the era of knowledge-based economy. It presents a great opportunity for students to showcase their ideas and innovative projects before the UAE competent authorities and enables them to develop their ideas and improve their ambitions, which the UAE relies on to carry on its process of development and modernization in all fields and sectors.
The festival features various activities and programs including a student retreat, an area for the ministry to be familiar with the students' views as regards educational and contemporary issues that reflect multiple aspects of the community's concerns. The ministry is also organizing a conference, in which a group of distinguished speakers including innovation pioneers worldwide will participate, along with various activities targeting students and their families.
Additionally, the ministry is organizing two major competitions during the festival; the first is the Science Fair for students in grades 5-12. The fair is a platform for displaying the research results that students have achieved through working on their scientific projects using scientific research methodologies. The participating projects will be evaluated by a dedicated committee tasked with selecting the best projects based on specific criteria. The projects participating in the Science Fair will deal with four domains: technology including communications, electronic systems, robotics, computing, control technologies, technological applications, biotechnology, electronic transformation and automation. The second domain is biological science and is divided into agriculture, anatomy, biochemistry, biotechnology, ecology, horticulture, physiology, medical sciences and human medicine. The third domain is social and behavioral sciences and deals with economics, geography, psycho-social studies of human behavior, nutrition science, natural history, culture and human community evolution sciences and political sciences. The fourth domain will deal with the Science Fair's competition in areas of chemistry, mathematics, physics, geology, engineering, computer programming, meteorology and astronomy.
The festival's second competition is 'Fekreti' (My Idea), which gives young elementary students (from kindergarten to grade 4) the opportunity to present their innovative ideas to qualified specialists for evaluation according to competitive bases and specific criteria such as originality of the idea, level of innovation, feasibility, expected value added and much more. The students with the most innovative and feasible ideas will be honored and will receive participation certificates and valuable in-kind prizes. The competition is aimed at encouraging and motivating students to present and discuss their ideas confidently in front of others. This will help attract the best innovative ideas, refine the personality of innovative students and encourage other students to follow suit.
Concurrently with the National Science, Technology and Innovation Festival, a family festival will be held and will feature many entertaining, cultural and cognitive activities that will add another dimension to the national festival, which brings together students and their families along with a number of officials and specialists in various fields.
The family festival includes shows that inspire the minds of our children with questions about what are around them, enabling them to look for answers through the scientific experience presented to them in an atmosphere of entertainment and fun.
A variety of workshops are held during the family festival including one on Arabic seals, where they will be taught how to make seals using rubber. The festival is also organizing a specialized workshop on perfume industry and another on papermaking. Those workshops are held by highly qualified Emiratis and others from outside the UAE. The family festival is hosting Zack King, a global YouTube star, and a number of social media pioneers.
In addition, the family festival is organizing activities that keep pace with the UAE orientations. It gives its visitors the opportunity to be familiar with 3D printing in collaboration with Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation. It also shares with visitors a drawing workshop using virtual reality technology and gives them the opportunity to watch cultural and entertaining movies through the open Cinema Akil. The festival has allocated a section for eye photography, a modern art based on high professionalism and skill, with the participation of professional photographers.
During the festival, a 'Dumia' (puppet) initiative will be launched, enabling the festival visitors to follow the exciting and wonderful puppet shows enjoyed mostly by children.
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