ABU DHABI, -- The Qudwa Teachers' Forum was organised on Wednesday, as part of a shared vision on advancing education in a rapidly changing world and preparing the education sector for the classroom of the future, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the UAE Ministry of Education (MoE) and Abu Dhabi Education Council's (ADEC).
The forum was held to coincide with World Teacher's Day, which is marked on 5th October every year.
The inaugural event, which is part of a new global initiative, marked the evolution of learning in the digital age and honoured exemplary teachers who have made an outstanding contribution to nurturing a rising generation of pioneering students and thought leaders in the UAE.
Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to 20 outstanding teachers by H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council.
The forum attracted leaders in the field of education from around the world. Notable speakers who addressed the forum included Minister Hussein Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education, and Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Education Council, who spoke of the importance of moral education and its essential role in guiding future generations.
"This forum highlights the crucial role that teachers play in the transformation of the UAE's education sector, which the education ministry is leading," Al Hammadi said.
"Our role as the ministry is to ensure that we have qualified teachers who are trained to use a culture of innovation to lead their students, and this forum was important to recognise excellence in teaching in the UAE and achieve understanding and engagement from teachers to our mission," he added.
Speaking about the inclusion of moral education within the national school curriculum, Al Nuaimi said, "In today's modernising world, we find ourselves confronted with a number of challenges to our beliefs and our way of life that can only be rebuffed through education. As teachers, we bestow upon you the honour and responsibility of raising our children, the future of our leaders, of our nation, down a path of humanity, decency, and tolerance. These are the attributes that have defined our culture, our people and which have to be instilled in our children from the very beginning. Teachers are the builders of our nation and thus must be the role models that show our students the importance of respecting others."
Commenting on the forum, Jameela bint Salem Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education, praised the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, emphasising the importance of encouraging youth to take up careers in education, and become role models for students of the future.
"The UAE has taken steps towards building a knowledge-based economy by investing in its people," Al Muhairi added.
"This is achieved by providing quality education for our students, as well as through initiatives like the Qudwa Forum that help to elevate the role teachers play in our lives, and enable them to enhance their skills."
Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Finland's Minister of Education and Science, spoke about the significance of building teachers' capacities in developing education systems, providing insights from one of the leading school systems in the developed world, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD).
As education minister she is responsible for the delivery of the ministry's Strategy 2020, which aims to enhance Finland's knowledge base by responding to new trends in education and integrating technology within the classroom.
Two plenary sessions were held at the forum and served as a platform for sharing insights and ideas on the digital age. They showcased drivers of change in education like artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, and 3D printing. The first session, was titled Education for Tomorrow: The Future of Teaching.
The second plenary session focussed on the inspiring role of teachers and their responsibilities in raising future generations.
An estimated 3,500 teachers from across the UAE and GCC had the chance to attend a special exhibition that allowed them to experience some of these technologies, and the teaching techniques that are changing the education landscape.
The exhibit was supported by the UAE Space Agency, Masdar, the Masdar Institute and Strata, all of which have invested heavily in advancing science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) education and create future business leaders that will help drive the UAE economy.
Present at the event were H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court; Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development; Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Member of the Executive Council and Managing Director of Emirates Foundation for Youth Development; Dr. Ahmad bin Abdulla Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education; Majid bin Ali Al-Nuaimi, Bahraini Minister of Education, and a number of Sheikhs, and senior educational officials from the UAE and abroad.
Source: Emirates News Agency