Middle East education sector witnesses dramatic transformation

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Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi addresses GESS 2018 delegates. - Supplied photo

Staff Report

Dubai – The education landscape in the Middle East is going through a dynamic phase of transformation, thanks to initiatives from the public and private sectors towards improving the quality of teaching practices and learning experiences.
Addressing education professionals from around the world at the GESS Dubai 2018 education show and conference, Eng. Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister for Education emphasised the efforts being undertaken by the Ministry to develop the education sector in the UAE as it is one of the foundations of the country’s aspirations to achieve a formidable knowledge-based economy.
“At the Ministry of Education, we strive to improve and develop education because it is one of the most important pillars of a knowledge-based economy. It is a significant foundation of the fourth industrial revolution launched by the government recently,” the Minister said while also saying efforts are ongoing to continuously improve quality of education “through the supervision plan involving various educational zones to ensure compliance with the MOE’s laws, regulations and legislations, and through the inspection framework that delivers a high-quality school evaluation system.”
Some of the transformations being seen across schools include not just curriculum enhancements, “but proactive projects that apply advances in technology, such as artificial intelligence and robotics. Cutting-edge studies in learning spaces and furniture design are also changing the look and feel of classrooms. We are providing teachers and schools administrators leadership sessions designed to help them manage their schools and the changes they are experiencing to be more equipped to handle future challenges,” said Matt Thompson, Project Director, Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East, organisers of GESS Dubai.
School-based projects showcasing the wide range of initiatives being done by students and teachers in the field artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual realities; along with the latest research and insights from leading international experts as well as education-focused products and solutions are on spotlight at this year’s edition of the leading education show and conference in the region.
Steve Bambury, Head of Digital Learning and Innovation, JESS Dubai presented the latest insights on how Virtual Reality is transforming students’ learning experience in school. ‘Students can grasp concepts more readily and retain information for longer. They can virtually travel to places they may not be able to visit in reality.”
Students are also more focused on content and improved performance in school has been observed. Other notable benefits observed with the use of VR in classrooms include being able to travel through time to explore past culture and events in a more meaningful way; and being able to direct their own learning while within virtual environments.
Amira Al Balooshi, a teacher from Al Ain, attended the hands-on, interactive workshop using Lego® bricks and was pleased with the insights she gained from the session. “Hands-on learning develops skills textbooks are not able to provide and encourages students to develop their imagination. I am happy these workshops are sharing not just wonderful insights but also practical tips on how we can improve our performance and that of our students’.”
GESS Dubai continued until March 1 at the Sheikh Saeed Halls of Dubai World Trade Centre featuring an exhibition of the latest educational products and solutions from 550 local and international companies and brands. Its conference programme has over 200 sessions and presentations from education, leadership and technology experts for which teachers can avail of CPD certification. -abdulbasit@theuaenews.com