He is not just a people’s President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is also someone who cares for children and their welfare. He was at the forefront of what we shall call confidence-building measures (CBMs) during the early and dark days of the pandemic, comforting the people of the country that the worst would soon pass and happier times would follow. Back then, his was the voice of calm that rose above the grief and distress, when fear overwhelmed humanity as the world went into various stages of lockdowns. On Tuesday, that same voice, mellow and kind was played at school campuses across the country as students returned to almost normal classes two years after the pandemic.
It was a new beginning and the President was encouraging them and giving them a shot of confidence they so badly needed after the coronavirus had disrupted the global education sector. Millions of children globally were rushed into remote learning from homes. Computer screens became their companions and thus was forged a new relationship with technology that would see them through what could be termed a crisis in the education sector. McKinsey called it ‘unfinished learning’. For parents, teachers, and kids, it was confusing and often chaotic, but they pulled it off and made the grade with flying colours.
Concerns, however, persist with some students being slow in catching up as they had little or no access to digital technology. Millions of students in poorer countries have fallen behind on the learning scale. “Some students who have disengaged from school altogether may have slipped backward, losing knowledge or skills they once had. Students who move on to the next grade unprepared are missing key building blocks of knowledge that are necessary for success, while students who repeat a year are much less likely to complete high school and move on to college,” McKinsey said in its report.
There were four key aspects in Sheikh Mohamed's inspiring speech that was directed at students, parents, teachers and officials: it was personal in tone as schools have returned to in-person teaching. The President didn’t address them as students, he called them ‘my children, one of his own; he spoke of dreams and ambitions and pride in their resilience while offering state and institutional support to rebuild sector for the larger purpose of serving society and country. He asked them to flaunt their ambition and dream big again now that the pandemic has been brought under control. They should be proud of their learnings, and what they could achieve if they persevere and work hard, together. With this speech, the President has set the tone for the future of education that starts with but is not limited to school. Here's to a lifetime of learning.
Many residents have taken a third booster dose. Some have even taken a fourth. All this has been for free as the government opened its coffers for the sake of public health
Today, it’s not uncommon to spot images of UAE royals on social media reaching out to common men and women and hailing them for their extraordinary acts of courage and resilience