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Merge academics with learning for life: Clinton

Muaz Shabandri (Reporter)
muaz@khaleejtimes.com Filed on March 18, 2014

1,100 delegates from 65 countries gather at Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai.

Educators across the world still have a tough task ahead and the global dialogue on education will continue to forge new partnerships said experts on Sunday, the first day of the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, hosted by GEMS Education.

Shaikh Mohammed and Bill Clinton at the Global Education and Skills Forum 2014 in Dubai on Sunday. — KT photo by Rahul Gajjar

“In spite of all the problems, the most important difference maker is a teacher. One good teacher for one year could have a dramatic positive impact on the learning capacity of an individual for a lifetime,” said former US President Bill Clinton in his keynote address which was also attended by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Clinton addressed more than 1,100 delegates from 65 countries and called up on the global community to invest more in creating new education resources. His talk at the forum which will end today, focused on improving coordination between education providers, non-government organisations (NGOs), governments and teachers.

Mobile learning for developing countries

Unesco and Samsung Electronics announced a partnership to give students in the developing world access to better education by putting Unesco’s expertise in the field together with Samsung’s Smart School facilities and solutions.

Unesco’s Mobile Learning initiative seeks to provide education for all by offering smarter ways to support the learning process through mobile devices. The project will enable Samsung and Unesco to cooperate and make tangible progress in education and will expand further to include culture and sciences.

Irina Bokova, Unesco Director-General said: “The agreement will help us integrate the extraordinary power and reach of mobile technologies into education systems, and provide quality learning for girls and boys, women and men, wherever they may be.”

“All of us have to find a way to merge basic academics with learning for life so that people are able to make an effective living. Young people who have education are likely to earn great income, resist conflict and support democracy. Individual quality education is still profoundly important to get young people off to a good start in life,” said Clinton.

The former US President highlighted the need to improve education as he said more than 100 million children still didn’t go to school worldwide.

“In poor countries, the most important thing is to build a system for all the children that need to be educated. The important lesson is we can do something and we should. Among the things we need to give special attention is equal education opportunities for girls.”

“When young women have education, they marry later, have fewer children, provide better prenatal care and their children have high survival rates. The children themselves are more likely to attend school and study further.”

Clinton also discussed the situation of Syrian refugee kids with Shaikh Mohammed. “I would like to thank Shaikh Mohammed for his friendship, hospitality and wise leadership in the region at a time when we need it more all over the world,” remarked Clinton.

Digital divide

“Inclusive education can be made possible by technologies. Technology gives us an opportunity to reach out but a digital divide still exists in the world. The United Nations should adopt a standalone goal to achieve access to quality education and lifelong learning for all,” said Irina Bokova, Unesco Director-General.

“Access and quality are the two big challenges in education. Both of them can be tackled through public-private partnerships,” she said.

Talking about the role of public schools in improving education infrastructure across developing countries, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, UK said: “One of the fundamental reasons why government schools don’t tend to be efficient is because of their low accountability to parents and students. Private schools are more accountable because they collect fees.”

Marwan Al Sawaleh, Undersecretary at the UAE Ministry of Education called on the private sector to increase commitment to education initiatives. “We have to believe and ask what our students need. They have to be engaged to move to a higher level. We have to increase the contribution from the private sector, improve technology and content, and commit to teacher training,” said Marwan.

muaz@khaleejtimes.com

author

Muaz Shabandri

Education reporter at Khaleej Times. Dabbles with technology, photography and design in free time. Talk to me food, education and good stories!


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