"Government, Academia and Industry need to work together on an unprecedented scale of partnership and unity of purpose" – Dr. Amal Al-Qubaisi Abu Dhabi, 24th August, 2015 (WAM) – With a gathering of over 1500 educators, school leaders and university leaders, the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) launched its strategy for knowledge production at its annual Education Leaders Forum, marking the start of the 2015-16 academic year.
Dr Amal Al-Qubaisi, ADEC’s Director General, addressed the gathering by stressing the importance of engaging the education leaders and school teachers in a journey towards transformation.
"Through your hard work and over the last five years, Abu Dhabi schools have made significant progress at all levels of the education process. ADEC is keen on having its school leaders and teachers develop the transformation strategy; they are our experts and they are our thought leaders, and this strategy is their work," she stressed.
In 2010, ADEC began deploying the Abu Dhabi School model, which focuses on 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, global citizenship, applied knowledge and communication, in all schools in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, beginning with KG-Grade 3 and reaching Grade 8 this academic year. In addition, ADEC placed a high priority on supporting the values, culture and heritage of the UAE in close coordination with the Ministry of Education. Recently, ADEC announced the complete restructuring of Cycle 3 (high school) in public schools with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), beginning this academic year.
"The journey of transformation involves a massive focus on STEM and building a sustained strong culture of education. Without scientific research, we cannot achieve the full vision of a knowledge producing society. ADEC will even transform KG children’s story books to include stories about science and technology," said Dr. Al Qubaisi.
In higher education, Abu Dhabi has witnessed the development of universities in partnership with some of the world’s top universities as well as significant progress in the development of UAE national universities.
"But the world is not standing still. The race to the top is getting more and more competitive. A holistic view encompassing all aspects of the education system from P-12 to Post-Graduate Master’s and Doctoral Education, as well as on-hands job market experience are all required," added Dr Al-Qubaisi.
Today, the world is witnessing tremendous global shifts in science and technology. From the Internet of Things, Smart Cities and Autonomous Cars, to Cognitive Computing systems that can understand context, analyze and convert information to knowledge, to developing custom DNA sequences for massive storage as memories for computing systems; we are approaching the tipping point of a revolution in science and technology. The impact on education systems will be tremendous.
Yet the national output in science and technology in key measures of knowledge production, such as scientific publications, patents and technology start-ups remains low. The proportion of university graduates, especially at the Masters and PhD levels remains far below what is needed.
"Excellence in education is about building a strong culture of education throughout society, and this requires a critical partnership, the most important partnership is a partnership with parents. Education systems that don’t anticipate the future will miss the future," said Dr Al-Qubaisi.
Sustainable economic prosperity requires a generation of innovators and entrepreneurs in science and technology, and requires building a knowledge producing society that competes on the world stage.
"Over the last five years, we planted the seeds for transforming our education system. Over the next five years we will transcend and reach new heights – we will achieve the promise of a world class education system," said Dr Al-Qubaisi.
The launching of the ADEC strategy for knowledge production marks a call for the beginning of a new era in Abu Dhabi education and scientific research. A call for unprecedented partnership between government, education and industry, bringing together the collective resources, energy, ideas, passion and resolve of the education, government and industry sectors singularly focused on achieving a common vision of a knowledge producing society, the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahayan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of ADEC.
"Our job will not be easy, and we cannot be successful working alone, isolated from our esteemed educators, students and parents, industry, businesses and community around us. In fact to succeed in fulfilling the vision of our great leadership, we need to partner with the community at large on a scale never before attempted. Two hands is always greater than one," concluded Dr Al-Qubaisi. –End-
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