Education Minister urges teachers to embrace innovation to stay relevant

(MENAFN- Emirates News Agency (WAM))

ABU DHABI, 7th October, 2017 (WAM) – Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education, today highlighted the country's achievements in developing the education sector to world-class standards in a special address on Day 1 of the Qudwa 2017 Global Teachers' Forum held at the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.

Jessy El Murr, Producer and TV Reporter at Sky News Arabia, introduced the session, which underlined the UAE's efforts in empowering students and teachers, and establishing new paradigms in education.

Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi said: "Every country that is seeking to promote its knowledge economy has to focus on education. The role and tasks of the traditional education system are going to change, with technology becoming an intrinsic part of the education process. We need to leverage technology in the education system, similar to its use in other sectors of the economy. For example in aviation, pilots can learn through flight simulations which not only make it less costly but also make the learning process easier. While in classrooms, virtual labs can be provided inside tablets, providing knowledge through a network to help grow and promote children's abilities."

In response to Jessy El Murr's query on how the UAE can bridge the gap between tech-savvy students and teachers, Al Hammadi replied: "His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched a programme based on smart learning that supports development in all schools. We are now beginning to see the benefits five years later with teachers adopting such new technologies.

"Technology is continuously developing, and we have national companies that are excelling and promoting their use. I believe we should use technology in all of its aspects – such as programming, software and virtual reality. We already have technologies out there that can be used on a sustainable basis in schools."

He added: "Virtual Reality, for example, could easily be implemented broadly. We recently tested it, and found that it allowed some students to learn in one year what an average student would absorb in a two-year curriculum. Of course, there are some countries that have the financial capabilities to use these modern technologies, and there are those that cannot. In the UAE, we are trying to find ways to bring the costs down – through software and programming."

He added: "The UAE has launched several initiatives supporting innovation in the classroom. A couple of years ago our esteemed leadership launched the Year of Innovation - which helped to introduce innovation particularly in the educational system. We launched several projects related to innovative design and implementation that promoted the love of innovation among children. We rolled out a project to nurture creative design 10th – 12th grade students. This month, will be launching a new system in schools that will run until March next year inviting students to innovate in an exclusive competition."

The Minister further pointed out: "A main ingredient to happiness is the role of the teacher, because he or she has to create an environment that promotes learning. I believe teachers have to be role models and create a passion for learning in the classroom."

Concluding his address, he said: "I would like to address all the elite teachers from all over the world who have come to the UAE. This nation has been built on the solid foundations of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan's values such as love, peace, giving, justice and equality. All of these values are embedded in us. You, the teachers, are ambassadors of these values, and so I ask you to entrench these values in students as it is our safest bet to achieve what we want from our education system in the future."

Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Qudwa 2017 runs from 7 to 8 October at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Under the theme 'Teaching for Tomorrow', the forum has convened more than 900 education professionals from 80 countries to discuss latest global trends in empowering teachers and inspiring students.

WAM/Hassan Bashir

Emirates News Agency (WAM)

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