Gerstner Jr, Retired Chairman and CEO, International Business Machines (IBM) and Chairman of Broad Institute, University of Harvard and MIT, delivered a speech titled ‘Education: from Nursery to G12 : The Path to Global Competitiveness’, which was attended by General Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at his Ramadan majlis, on Thursday.
The talk was also attended by Shaikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah; Shaikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman; Shaikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region; Shaikh Surour bin Mohammed Al Nahyan; Shaikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court; Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research; Shaikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority; Shaikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Ajman Department of Municipality and Planning.
Other Shaikhs, ministers, senior officials, MPs and diplomats were also present in the second lecture hosted by Shaikh Mohammed’s majlis.
The lecturer said he was impressed by Shaikh Mohammed’s support and care for development of education in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which he said, goes parallel with the government’s attention to education nationwide as education is seen as a major mainstay of the vibrant economy in the 21st century.
Giving observations about Abu Dhabi programme for revamping the education after he met officials here, he noted that the emirate is conscious about the urgency of reforming the education system as part of its drive for introducing reforms relating to other national priorities mainly the call for knowledge-based economy.
He said that he was impressed with the Abu Dhabi’s integrated educational development plan, which he said he has never seen elsewhere in the world.
According to him, Abu Dhabi is capable of solving its educational challenges through developing creative solutions to them.
The education plan in the emirate, he added, needs concentration on some key priorities that would help it overcome scores of challenges the education sector is facing.
In his view, top priority is to have the best teachers who can be groomed through specialised colleges equipped with the most advanced learning facilities and those who draw high salaries for their up to mark performance.
The most pressing challenge is to have an education that is based on culture rather than evaluation and benchmarking only.
Abu Dhabi, he continued, should spread and circulate the culture and excellence in its schools and preserve them.
Quoting Shaikh Mohammed’s statement about Abu Dhabi’s vision on building an open, competitive economy at an international level, the lecturer said if that takes place, education will be at the core of the policy because it is the only way for building competitiveness in the 21st century.
He gave an overview of the reality of education in the US over the last 40 years and the challenges of reform.
He stressed that competitiveness in the world is based on economic success which in turn is motivated by education, which is the key to success. —
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