The 7th Annual Global Education Forum (GEF) and the Gulf Education Supplies and Solutions Exhibition (GESS) kicked off yesterday (Tuesday, 5 March, 2014) under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and in the presence of Sheikah Bodour Al Qasimi and several ministers, educational leaders and officials led by H.E. Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qutami, UAE Minister of Education; H.E. Dr. Majid Al Nuaimi, Minister of Education, Kingdom of Bahrain; H.E. Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, Director General of Abu Dhabi Education Council; H.E. Ali Al-Karni, Director-General of the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States. Over 7000 educators and educational experts from the UAE and beyond along with 400 international IT industry leaders from 35 countries attended the events.
Present during the opening ceremonies of the forum were H.E Marwan Al Sawaleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education; H.E Ali Al Suwaidi, Assistant Undersecretary for Private Education; H.E Khawla Al Mualla, Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Polices and H.E Fawzia Hassan Gharib, Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Operations.
The 7th Annual Global Education Forum featured 100 workshops, panel sessions and roundtable discussions. The activities featured the participation of 20 world-class main keynote and 150 general speakers in the specialized workshops which focus on three main topics, including technological skills for the 21st century; teaching methods and curricula for the 21st century and engaging parents and students in the learning process.
H.E. Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qutami began his speech by expressing his heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude to Sheikh Mohammed for his patronage for the forum and its accompanying exhibition. In his opening note, H.E. Al Qutami said: “The global race towards promoting competitiveness and reaching top positions has driven in a new reality in which renovation and development are two main factors for excellence and leadership. This, in turn, has influenced the ongoing movement that we are seeing today towards efficient educational systems and relevant visions, experiences, ideas and strategic plans. There is also current emphasis on educational technology, communication channels and smart information networks, which are emerging as the key pillars of development and basis for internationally-adopted benchmarks in the classification of countries all over the world.”
“Accordingly, the challenges facing educational institutions responsible for industry development have become more formidable than ever before. They are further complicated by accompanying plans for a future rich in possibilities that are hard to predict in light of the remarkable and rapid technological progress. This scenario of challenges on one side and prospects for success on the other has become more apparent now, with the added consideration for inevitable future requirements which vary depending on the aspirations of each country,” Al Qutami stated.
Al Qutami further added: “While speaking about the UAE, we cannot but juxtapose the present and future given the merits of the country’s advanced international status. This places even greater pressure for us at the Ministry of Education, with challenges continuing to double, commensurate to the UAE’s achievements across all aspects of life and in terms of the importance towards the learning sector given by H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, his brother H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and their brothers Their Highnesses the members of the Union Supreme Council and Rulers of the Emirates.”
“Achieving international competitiveness in the learning industry is no longer a strategic choice, but rather a necessity in order for us to deliver first-class contemporary learning as an ideal model and an area for future growth that is worth taking the lead in. We believe that this is not an impossible feat for the UAE given its race against time, under directives of its wise leadership and the will of its people, to always be Number One,” concluded Al Qatami.
Simultaneously, Al Qutami affirmed that the elements for success and excellence are many, and are all-available to the Ministry of Education which has advanced from one achievement to the other throughout the past editions of this educational forum and exhibition. Today’s 7th edition sums up of the Ministry’s successful experiences in smart learning and smart services and other relevant industries related to education and modern technology offered across all UAE-based schools in cooperation with the Ministry’s strategic partners – educational councils and national organizations and departments, and industry leaders and producers of technology, programs and applications.
H.E stressed that the comprehensive development being driven by the Ministry of Education is the means through the bar on school performance and general educational outputs continues to be raised. It accommodates all innovative ideas and initiatives and all that is new in educational technology. It affirms our belief that our sons and daughters deserve the best and that our country has many international merits based on its leading role, its rich culture, and the prosperous future we all aspire to.
While welcoming the attendees from various ministries, educational leaders & experts, and officials and professionals from all over the world, he declared that the ministry looks forward to a promising vision for the education sector–a vision that reflects immense importance of the forum as an assembly point for regional countries and nations; a vision that reflects creative ideas, leading experiences and innovative themes offered by the forum, not to forget its extensive agenda including extensive workshops and research papers.
Following his speech, the attendees previewed an audio-visual documentary summarizing the start of education and its development in the UAE, and the progress that the country has achieved in smart learning and the development of digital modern schools as well as acquiring international competitiveness in the education sector.
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