Reimagining Educational System Is Imperative to Overcome Negative Impact of COVID-19

Reimagining Educational System Is Imperative to Overcome Negative Impact of COVID-19 By A Robin - September 06, 2022
HE Minister Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr Al Nuaimi

HE Minister Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr Al Nuaimi

HE Minister of Education and Higher Education Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr Al Nuaimi underlined the pressing need to adopt the idea of reimagining the educational system and develop new visions, perceptions and strategic directions that help overcome the negative effects that the entire global educational system has been exposed to during the past two years.

Speaking at a special panel discussion held this evening as part of the Education City Speaker Series "Bel Arabi" at Qatar National Library, HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education noted a global consensus that calls for a reimagining of educational systems, and the State of Qatar is a part of this world and has its future vision for education and its role in nurturing a generation of leaders who possess the skills and tools that qualify them to complete the sustainable development process.

HE the Minister pointed to the "Transforming Education Summit" which will be held in New York in September with the participation of state leaders, noting that the State of Qatar participated in its preparatory meeting in Paris in June. and previously prepared for it in May when it led a regional consultative meeting with ministers of education from the Arab region and West Asia, and with development partners, including representatives of the UNESCO and UNICEF. The meeting helped define the views of countries and partners in the region regarding the pivotal and fundamental issues in the education transformation, including the elements of basic education that must be changed in order to deal with the challenges facing the region at the present time.

"Believing in the participation of all parties to the educational process in the country, we held in Qatar a national consultative meeting with the participation of 50 different parties, organized by the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science and the Education Above All Foundation in partnership with the UNESCO and UNICEF, in preparation for the 'Transforming Education Summit'. We discussed many key topics, including those related to the local national identity, the Arabic language, the Qatari culture, digital transformations in the field of education, support for teachers to maintain the quality of education, the promotion of higher education and the development of future skills and work requirements," HE the Minister of Education explained.

"These national consultations had a great impact on us because they confirmed the correctness of our strategic directions. The issue of digital transformations in education was a fundamental issue in our consultations, as the Ministry has sought, since the beginning of the pandemic in Qatar (March 2020), to work on developing an e-learning strategy after the transformation of our schools and universities into the distance learning system, and we have met and listened to our students and teachers in preparation for the implementation of this strategy based on performance evaluation initiatives and indicators to measure the impact on both the teacher and the student. We have set goals for our students, the most important of which is to raise the level of their digital capabilities and motivate their acceptance of modern learning methods to ensure their adaptation to e-learning with high efficiency in the future, while for teachers our goals revolved around preparing them to enable them with the required digital capabilities, raising the level of their culture to the limits of the latest developments in the field of e-learning and technology, and supporting them in achieving quality education as our most important educational goals," Her Excellency added.

HE the Minister of Education stressed the importance of developing policies and frameworks to protect young people and protect their identity from cultural dissolution in light of the unprecedented openness to the flow of information. "Our national and local identity and our culture inspired by our religion, our customs and traditions, and our Arabic language is the foundation of this. It is at the core of building the Qatari personality, which is rooted in our values while at the same time being open to the world," she said.

Her Excellency affirmed that the Qatari curricula uphold and consolidate many values, including faith, patriotic, moral, social, personal and aesthetic values; focus on consolidating the national identity through multiple lessons and activities, within clear plans, and in cooperation with many institutions in the country; and teach the students to be proud of their language, culture, religion, customs and traditions, and to respect the other, regardless of his religion, gender, color and language.

HE Minister of Education and Higher Education Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr Al Nuaimi pointed out that the future of young adults is no longer limited to the future of science and knowledge only, as human skills concerning facing life became an essential element. Therefore, the focus is currently on developing the twenty-first-century skills for students, cognitively and professionally, including encouraging critical thinking, communication skills, social responsibility, creativity, and innovation, which helps to move smoothly to the stage of higher education and prepare them to engage and compete in the regional and international labor market being aware of their future needs. It was also agreed with all parties of the educational process to formulate strategic directions in the coming period to build the educational strategy on it and achieve the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.

Her Excellency pointed out that the ministry's goals during the coming period are based on 4 axes. First, "student" who comes at the heart of these goals to seek knowledge for life; be armed with science; and characterized by knowledge, curiosity, passion and creativity. Second, "role model teacher" who is motivated to develop himself and achieve excellence. Third, "the school" to be an attractive, safe, and ever-evolving environment as it is the student's second home, and if he does not feel belonging, he will not be able to grow and flourish in it. Fourth, "the ministry" as work is in progress to transform it into a center that develops innovations and capabilities as education now needs a creative administrative and executive body that sets innovative plans and contributes to attracting and maintaining educational and managerial competencies.

In her response and comments to audience interventions, Her Excellency elaborated that there are several initiatives launched by the ministry to serve these four axes including "my school is my society", a multi-sectoral and inter-agency initiative that focuses on student-supportive values. Also, the "good start" initiative was launched to serve the teacher axis, which is a training program for fresh graduates for a full year. The third initiative "towards excellence" is dedicated to schools to develop plans for each school for development and excellence. The fourth initiative is the "school change leaders" initiative, where consultants from the ministry work directly with schools to bring about the necessary change for the better.

Her Excellency indicated that the education system was evaluated over the past year to identify the challenges facing the educational system, and then 13 initiatives were developed to address these challenges, 4 of which have already been launched. she elaborated that these initiatives are continuing within the framework of a strategic plan that ends in 2030, and is part of a comprehensive plan to transform the educational system in the country.

On preparing students for the labor market, Her Excellency explained that one of the new initiatives being worked on is the "my skills are my future" initiative, in which the focus is on future labor market skills, technological and cultural skills, communication skills in general, and all that the student needs to qualify him for the labor market and future professions.

Concerning the Qatari educational cadre, HE Minister Buthaina Al Nuaimi said that the ministry is exerting hard efforts to attract Qatari teachers, as these efforts include the "Tomooh" program - which is directed to high school graduates to join the College of Education - has recruited 1200 male and female high school graduates into the teaching profession. In addition to the one-year "Tamheen" program, which is directed to non-pedagogical Qatari graduates who have the desire to work in the teaching profession, as well as Teach for Qatar organization, which makes great efforts in this field.

Her Excellency stressed that education is a humane and social process whose primary goal is to build a good, active, and productive human being; in turn, building his society and his country and contributing to spreading goodness, justice, and beauty in this world. 

In statements following the panel discussion held as part of the Education City Speaker Series at Qatar National Library, Assistant Undersecretary for Private Education Affairs at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education Omar Abdulaziz Al Naama said that the number of private schools reached 338 schools and kindergartens attended by 211.000 students, in addition to 170 private centers for training and educational services, and centers for people with disabilities. Moreover, 173 private nurseries were transferred under the supervision of the Ministry.

He added that seven new schools have been opened in the current academic year 2022/2023, and there are many initiatives the Private Education sector is working on within the initiatives announced by the ministry at the beginning of this year, noting that there is a comprehensive evaluation process for all initiatives in private schools and their impact on students, taking into account the rights and duties of the license holder, the school principal, and the boards of trustees.

Regarding the selection criteria for private school teachers, Al Naama said that the ministry has controls and requirements for the appointment of teachers in private schools, including academic qualifications and scientific and practical experience, so teachers are not appointed to private schools until those controls and conditions are met; stressing that for the first time the mandatory subjects "Arabic language-Islamic education" are applied to the kindergarten stage in all private schools, while the Qatari history is added from the ninth grade.

In the same context, Director of the Training and Professional Development Center at the ministry Hessa Al Aali explained that the center is working on the "Good Start" initiative for training new teachers for a whole year, by providing a distinguished group of trainers and all kinds of moral, academic and professional support to all new teachers in all State schools; noting that the teacher needs to be equipped with many modern requirements such as the use of technology that keeps pace with the time.

She added that the center launched the "Tamkeen" program, which is based on the training of teachers appointed both from inside and outside Qatar. The program provides them with professional and technological competencies that help them to engage in the teaching profession and the education system in the country, and it is mandatory for all new teachers.

She added that the center is also working on other programs for administrators and school leaders, in order to achieve the vision and strategy of the ministry.


By A Robin - September 06, 2022

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