In line with its constant dedication to make a quality centered shift in education and to leverage its exclusive experience and knowledge in smart education, the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) currently took part in a exclusive digital seminar (webinar) attended by some of the most distinguished global academic organizations and institutions. The virtual meeting was held to talk about moves on how to similarly enhance the optimistic contributions of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in aid of promoting education in the African continent.
The seminar, proved to be both well timed and strategic, as it comes in the course of the unexpected emergence of the coronavirus (COVID-19), posing great challenges to education, particularly in Africa, which lacks advanced academic infrastructure. The seminar was held in partnership with the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE), the UNESCO Nairobi Office (Regional Office for East Africa), and the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (UNESCO IICBA), amidst consensus on the significance of exploring new horizons for enforcing joint ventures that serves the aspirations of offering excellent education in Africa to qualify new generations capable of investing their potential in constructing a better, safer and more affluent future.
Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor, HBMSU, joined some of the world's leading personalities in the fields of education, communications and technology, which additionally covered Ann Therese Ndong Jatta, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office in Nairobi; Professor Tao Zhan, Director of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE); Changwei Qin, Secretary-General of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO; Yomiko Yokozeki, Director of the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (UNESCO IICBA) and Professor Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning. During the virtual meeting, the dignitaries have been capable to talk about and create an preliminary action plan that is aimed at aiding education in the African continent by a series of digital seminars at the nearby and regional levels and offering academic sources by the Internet from the leading pioneering institutions, which consists of the HBMSU, Huawei, Facebook, Coursera, Commonwealth of Learning, Weidong and UNESCO IICBA.
The attendees agreed on the significance of the concerted efforts between academic institutions, technology companies, search engines and social media in spreading the culture of smart education. This is highlighted with the latest announcement of offering education, training and communication platforms from Google and Facebook and the launch of a tv channel devoted to helping education as the best way to enhance nations.
Dr. Al Awar stressed on the significance of HBMSU's commitment to leverage its pioneering experiences in the service of the method of enhancing education in Africa. He emphasized that the university is eager on organizing free digital training courses for staff and faculty of African schools and universities that will be nominated by UNESCO, following the success of its earlier offered courses, "Be an online tutor in 24 hours" and "Design an online course in 24 hours," which have been launched in 5 languages and have seen the participation of 110,000 participants from all over the world and ensuing in the issuance of more than 92,000 certificates. The courses had been an advanced step in the direction of offering the essential equipment to harness and adapt smart technology in offering education for all in order to maintain pace with the hastily changing international changes.
Al-Awar called for uniting global efforts to make investments in coaching and enhancing teaching sources in Africa as it is the cornerstone for offering present day academic and knowledge resources that stimulate new generations to be innovative and progressive to maintain pace with the successive transformations of the twenty-first century. He additionally declared the HBMSU’s intentions of organizing digital seminars to promote the skills associated to quality management, excellence and smart education, which has confirmed to be the backbone of future development.
Al Awar said, "The HBMSU is honored to be becoming a member of fellow global entities in education in help of UNESCO's efforts to increase the march of education and development in the African continent, below the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the President of the University. We are more than pleased to share our world-leading experience in enhancing the competence of instructors via the adoption of the cutting-edge academic techniques and best practices based on the use of information and communications technology to make sure the development of the quality of education and its continuity, particularly in light of the present day challenges and rising crises that we are all facing.”
"We look ahead to actively contributing to the success of projects aimed at offering instructors in Africa with collective resources and advanced joint capabilities, in cooperation and coordination with the UNESCO Office in Nairobi and the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa, as we trust in the significance of offering academic opportunities as a lifeline during crises and the most effective way to maintain life," he added.
Al Awar concluded, “The continent of Africa suffers from considerable challenges in the field of education, given the lack of resources and vulnerable infrastructure, which underscores the significance of UNESCO’s role in launching excellent initiatives to assist spread education, elevate its quality and make sure its continuity in African countries. HBMSU stands firmly with UNESCO in its noble endeavors to harness all our pioneering academic and technological skills in order to offer inclusive and equitable education for all, within the framework of attaining the dreams of the United Nations for sustainable improvement and in line with the vision of our rational leadership in making education our gateway to constructing a person and moving via it to international horizons, progress and expertise leadership. We are certainly going in advance with the implementation of our excellent centered initiatives, which signify an extension of the UAE’s pioneering role on the world map as an influential pressure in serving the troubles of societies and peoples and overcoming the barriers to proceed the method of progress, renaissance and development."
The webinar began with an opening speech given by Ann Therese, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office in Nairobi, who chaired the agenda and additionally noticed presentations made by Dr. Al Awar, UNESCO International Center for Higher Education Innovation (UNESCO ICHEI), UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (UNESCO INRULED), Commonwealth of Learning, Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, Huawei, Google, Weidong, Facebook, Coursera and Star Times Television Network among others.
The online Webinar was held under UNESCO supervision with the aid and participation of global organizations, academic institutions and technology and communications companies, along with Google, Facebook and "Huawei. The HBMSU’s participation displays the commitment of the UAE to support humanitarian work and improvement initiatives and lend a supporting hand to a number of nations of the world and make contributions efficiently to global efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 across the world and minimize its repercussions.