Education Ministry ‘planning virtual schools at all levels in near future’

February 26, 2020
UAE to level up education initiatives, says minister.
UAE to level up education initiatives, says minister.

DUBAI — Saudi Education Minister Dr. Hamad Bin Mohammed Al Shaikh said that there is a special focus on education in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

“Our goal for education is to become the profession of the future, produce change, reshape conceptions, build-up the minds of the youth on the basis of modern technology,” said Al Shaikh on the first day of the Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) exhibition in Dubai on Tuesday.

The event has become the premier platform for doing business in the education sector in the Middle East.

“Our aim is to encourage this generation and future generation to adopt the benefits of technology which impacts their lives,” he added.

He was referring to the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augment Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) products that highlight the most recent developments in these exciting fields that are geared toward education.

The minister mentioned that the Kingdom has launched a virtual nursery, which targets children, who are unable to attend nursery physically. “The ministry is also planning virtual schools at all levels in near future,” he said.

Meanwhile, the UAE government is working on initiatives to equip all schools, universities and students of the country with smart devices and systems, said Hussain Bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, the UAE minister of education, while inaugurating the Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) exhibition.

“Curricula, projects and researches will be enhanced with the use of smart systems,” Al Hammadi said at the three-day GESS Dubai 2020, the world’s leading education show that is being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Among the high-profile guests who attended the opening ceremonies at GESS Dubai included Dr. Majed Bin Ali Al-Nuami (education minister, Bahrain); Tarek Shawki (education minister, Egypt); and Dr. Damir Sehovic (education minister, Montenegro).

The event, which will witness more than 50 product launches, covers a broad spectrum of products and solutions — from gadgets and devices to learning solutions, as well as a traditional school, lab equipment and learning gears that are all designed to make teaching and learning more effective.

GESS Dubai is also hosting over 300 free of charge and CPD-certified workshops and presentations from world-leading experts in education, technology, leadership and training, neuroscience and others, said the organizers.

“The UAE is planning to almost double its investments in kindergarten enrollments as the initial phase of life play a crucial role in shaping the personality of the students and their future,” Al Hammadi added.

He said, “As for enabling the teacher to integrate global competency skills within the curricula, teaching methods and evaluation, the Ministry of Education has built the Emirati school system with a global vision, identifying the characteristics of the teacher, student and leader of the Emirati school and building systems to support them at all levels in line with the requirements of today’s world, modern global trends and local educational goals.”

Gerd Leonhard, chief executive officer of The Futures Agency, in his keynote address, talked about ‘technology & humanity’ with key focus on future jobs, work and the future of education.

Leonhard, also an author and a filmmaker, said that anything that can be digitized and automated will be but anything that cannot will become extremely valuable.

He emphasized that resist machine-thinking, understand exponential but live linear and transcend technology — not humanity. “Our biggest challenge is not (yet) that the machines will take over, but that we become too much like them,” he said.

Concluding his keynote, he said, “Invest as much in humanity as you invest in technology.”

“GESS, a UAE-based brand, has become so successful that we’ve expanded it to key education markets around the world,” said Matt Thompson, project director, Tarsus, organizers of the event.

The show being held in partnership with the UAE’s Ministry of Education is also supported by the Ministry of Education Bahrain, Ministry of Education Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Arab Bureau of Education for Gulf States (ABEGS), British Schools in the Middle East (BSME) and Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) as Knowledge Partner. — SG

February 26, 2020
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