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‘Whatever the question, education is key’
By a Staff Reporter October 09, 2017
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ABU DHABI: Teachers hold the key to fuelling sustainable growth, building social cohesion and stability, and promoting tolerance and equality, a plenary session themed “Equity in Education: Delivering on SDG4” highlighted on Day 2 of Qudwa 2017 Global Teachers’ Forum in Abu Dhabi.

Exploring the role of education as a building block to creating a better, more sustainable world, participants discussed how teachers can ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

Panellists included Jameela Bint Salem Al Muhairi, UAE Minister of State for Public Education, Julia Gillard, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Global Partnership for Education and former Prime Minister of Australia, and Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) and Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

Introducing the session, presenter Jessy El Murr, Producer and TV Reporter at Sky News Arabia, said: “Education is defined as the golden thread that runs through all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Teachers are seen as critical to the success of SDG 4.”

Kicking off the discussion, moderator Vikas Pota, Chief Executive of the Varkey Foundation, said: “Whatever the question, education is the answer.”

Jameela Bint Salem Al Muhairi said: “Education is critical for every single human being on earth and one of the basic human rights, therefore SDG 4 is an objective for all. The UAE places high priority on sustainable development around the world. Earlier this year, our government established the National Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, presided over by Her Excellency Reem Bint Ebrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation. The National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021 is also based on the SDGs.”

She added: “Two weeks ago, our leadership launched the UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution that aims to lead our next generation into the future. At the centre of this strategy are people.

“There is a question that we always come back to – what will the school of the future look like? Is it going to be virtual? Are robots going to replace teachers? Whatever the answer may be, in the UAE we believe that skills, education, knowledge, values, principles and technology form the basis of our future. With regard to technology, the UAE is already playing a leading role as we gear up for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

“In partnerships with the Varkey Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we want to make sure that every child in the world will have access to education. The UAE is among the top 10 countries in the world that are active in this field.”

Dr Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi said: “According to the founding father of the UAE, late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, education has three pillars – the teacher, the curriculum and the student. In this context, the wise leadership of the UAE has launched three initiatives. The first one is this forum that brings together the best educators from around the world to initiate a discussion, the second is the launch of moral education in UAE schools, and the third is the Future Generation Council that will help us solve all the challenges facing the community. After all, students are the future leaders of every country.”

Calling for change in our approach to education, Julia Gillard said: “If we stick with business as usual, we are going to wake up in 2030 and see 800 million young people leaving schools with less than secondary-level skills. On the other hand, we have the technological revolution creating many jobs that require highly qualified professionals.

“This mismatch between low skills and high demands of the job market leads to poverty and lost hope around the world.”

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