SHARJAH, ---A panel of experts examined the role of educational institutions in developing future generations and society at large at the sixth edition of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF 2017), which concluded on Thursday at Expo Centre.

The experts grappled with this question in a session titled 'Government Communication and Development Goals in the Arab World' at IGCF 2017 currently moderated by Sarah Dundarawy, TV Presenter at Al Arabiya.

In recent years, the Arab world has placed unprecedented emphasis on development with a special focus on achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

However, amidst an increasingly challenging economic and political climate, how can governments ensure that key stakeholders, such as the media, civil society and non-government organisations are collaboratively participating in this development journey? Highlighting the importance of education in developing countries as well as societies, Mishal Kanoo, Chairman of The Kanoo Group, said, "We need to change the way we think about education. Teaching is not merely a job but a significant responsibility. Companies can also support development by creating opportunities for youth. Some companies have noble goals and believe it is their duty to help train and develop this segment of society."

Dr. Adah Almutairi, Professor and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Nanomedicine and Engineering at University of California San Diego, said, "We should focus on the importance of research very early in school education. This will develop the awareness of children."

Discussing the need for more inventors and innovators in the Arab world, she called for governments to encourage more innovation in educational institutions. She said, "The government can fund programmes. We do not need to have the whole population inventing or innovating, but we need a few. A small group of students interested in science is enough."

Hanan Al Hroub, Winner of the 2016 Global Teacher Prize, noted that development is a collaborative effort. "The government alone is not responsible for the development of children or society. We need dialogue in order to reach solutions. Citizens need a greater voice to effectively apply solutions in a collaborative manner. We also need a unified vision between governments and schools that is reflected in the curriculum, the behaviour of students and society at large."

Describing how technology has redefined the role of teachers, she added, "Earlier, the teacher was the only source of knowledge for the student. Thanks to technological progress, children now have a wide variety of sources available. Therefore, the role of the teacher today is to help the student discover information and instill moral values."

Offering a transparent platform to examine current issues and formulate recommendations to help governments optimise the impact of their communication, IGCF 2017 was attended by more than 2,500 local and international personalities from the ranks of government officials, experts, thought leaders, and government communication professionals.

Source: Emirates News Agency