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Gulf education landscape to alter drastically in next 5 years
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 02 - 03 - 2016

Education experts speaking at the Global Educational Supplies & Solutions (GESS) exhibition and Global Education Forum see dramatic changes happening in the education sector throughout the region in the next five years.
In his keynote speech, Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education, said the UAE has set into motion a strategic plan until 2021 that will focus on enhancing its smart learning and smart services initiatives, utilizing the most recent advances in technology, and partnering with various stakeholders to improve and develop education as well achieve high quality learning to meet its long term development goals.
In so far as education-related indicators are concerned, the UAE has excelled in several areas, including topping the list of countries preferred by international students seeking higher education. The Emirates also ranked first in gender equality in secondary education, according to the Human Capital Report 2015 by the World Economic Forum. It also placed third in education competitiveness and eight in the science-in-school indicator by the Global Innovation Index last year. Equally important, it is among the top 21 nations in terms of research and development collaboration between universities and industries.
Elsewhere in the region, various strategies in accordance with the Education 2030 Framework for Action are being implemented by Arab states to achieve key milestones. According Anna Paolini, Director of the UNESCO regional Office and Representative in the GCC, "Arab countries need to focus on key priority areas such as equitable and inclusive access to education for all; quality and relevant education and teachers; as well as education for sustainable development."
The anticipated developments in the education sector will accelerate with continuing advances in technology. "This is why a platform for showcasing these technological advances will play a critical role in making these changes happen. By introducing decision-makers in the education sector to the latest innovations in education-related products and solutions, we hope to give them the opportunity to explore what is available in the market, and useful for their individual classroom environments," said Matt Thompson, Project Director, F&E Group, organisers of GESS and GEF 2016.
Some of the most exciting changes currently happening and has the potential to impact the future is in robotics. Adila Saadat, certified EV3 Instructor from the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Academy; and Robotics Coordinator at the American Community School of Abu Dhabi says robotics as a discipline is overarching and has the potential to be embedded in the curriculum with many applications across subjects. "With robotics, students learn hardware/building as well as software/programming applications. They learn life skills of goal setting, trouble-shooting and perseverance," she added.
Just as the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the world in multi-faceted ways, it is also helping modernise the way knowledge is shared in classrooms. "We taught workshop attendees how a mobile app can control an Internet-connected smart home, or classroom, which we are increasingly seeing as schools continue to invest in technologies to improve the learning experience," said David Kirtlan, Director, Elsium.
Continuing until Thursday (March 3), the GESS Dubai and GEF Forum is taking place at the New Za'abeel Halls of the Dubai World Trade Centre. Interested education professionals can still register online at www.gessdubai.com, and obtain CPD certification for visiting the region's premier education show. — SG


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