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UN International Day of Education: UAE educators told to focus on futuristic curriculum

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on January 23, 2021
Reuters

Senior faculties also averred that the country’s education sector battled the pandemic with resilience and constantly endeavoured to stay ahead with its learning curve.


Educators today need to be abreast with the new developments as well as focus on futuristic curriculum, experts in the UAE higher education sector have pointed out.

It comes as the UAE joins the world in celebrating the UN International Day of Education today, which is being observed under the theme, ‘Recovering and Revitalising Education for the Covid-19 Generation’.

Senior faculties also averred that the country’s education sector battled the pandemic with resilience and constantly endeavoured to stay ahead with its learning curve.

Dr Arindam Banerjee, associate professor and deputy director (dean) — MBA programmes director —- student recruitment, SP Jain School of Global Management, Dubai Campus, said: “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today and the UAE is a classic example of trying to stay ahead of the constantly moving learning curve. The country’s education sector that contributes significantly to the cause of nation building has come a long way since establishment of Dubai’s first national semi-regular school in 1912. Today, the sector needs to align itself with the driving forces that shape the future of jobs and skills in the world with a razor focus on futuristic curriculum.”

He added: “It needs to embrace technological progress, in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, (AI), big data and advanced analytics in a much broader sense encompassing cross-cultural competency and trans-disciplinary areas.”

These need to be adopted at grassroots levels at a much earlier stage and outcomes needs to be tried and tested at a practical level.

“The sector also needs to educate the educators considering the rapid progression in the sector that over the years have shifted its focus from simple information sharing towards Theory of Inventive Problem Solving,” added Dr Banerjee.

Dr Sonia Ben Jaafar, chief executive officer of Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, said: “As we celebrate this day, we must address the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic on students around the world, forcing them to immediately adapt to online modes of learning, even when they did not have the means. This seismic shift in how students were accessing their education posed major threats to our progress as a society towards SDG 4, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

Meanwhile, many UAE universities are partnering with the Ministry of Education to form the University Consortium for Quality Online Learning (UCQOL), making online learning programmes more available to a larger pool of undeserved students from the UAE and abroad.

By bringing about institutional change at the university level through the UCQOL, key stakeholders in the online education realm will be equipped with the technological expertise to design, develop and deliver high-quality online programmes, ultimately benefiting the students, and helping them to excel throughout their learning.

“Our mission is to elevate Arab youth’s livelihoods through quality education so that we may contribute to the region’s sustainable development. We are focused on ensuring more youth have access to quality education in the post-pandemic world”, added Dr Jaafar.

The pandemic has allowed students to develop soft skills such as adaptability, resilience and determination that are now more important than ever and job candidates with such skills are tremendously desired by employers.

Professor Ammar Kaka, provost and vice- principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai, pointed out: “Responsive Blending Learning is also enabling students to make and retain friends from all over the globe, offering them a chance to be a part of a truly global community and to grow their social capital. This exciting new way of learning offers students the best of both the online and offline worlds. And as we all already know, networks are incredibly important when it comes to career progression, entrepreneurship, and personal development.”

He underlined: “Universities also offer students an abundance of transferable skills such as problem solving and time management, as well as communication and analytical skills. This is why higher education plays an integral role in helping young people get the foundational and transferable skills they need before they enter the workforce.”

nandini@khaleejtimes.com





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