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Expert proposes reform

Arab education must improve

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Arab Today, arab today Arab education must improve

Schools are key social and political actors
Dubai - Arabstoday

Schools are key social and political actors Dubai - Arabstoday Education in the Arab world is not yet up to the level to compete with developed countries, said Sultan Lootah, Managing Director of Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoun Foundation. “Education has flourished in developed countries, but in the Arab world there is still a need to work hard on improving the quality of education in order to prepare best a generation who can give their best to their countries,” Lootah said. He said there is a need to apply special policies related to education in the Arab world. “We need to transfer the successful experiences on education in the world to the Arab countries,” he said. He added that there was a call for an Arab Union Similar to the European Union. “In order to be able to have an Arab Union we need to prepare the new generation by offering them knowledge and education,” he said. “In an effort to continue its mission to boost the Arab and national efforts for building a society and economy of knowledge as basic source of Arab reformation and development, Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation will work on Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011: Preparing Future Generations for the Knowledge Society,” he said. At a press conference held yesterday at the foundation Lootah announced details regarding the release of the Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011. Lootah said the report will be released on March 14 in Ritz Carlton Hotel – Dubai International Financial Centre at 10am under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. “The ceremony will be followed by active discussion panels involving decision makers and specialists in the Arab region during both days. The purpose of these discussion panels is for the participants to share their opinions regarding the current state of education in the Arab world and the extent of the Arabs for knowledge society,” he said. Lootah said the Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011 is considered to be another accomplishment of the ongoing cooperation among the Foundation and United Nations Development Programme UNDP to enrich the efforts of creating a knowledge society and its contribution in helping the humanitarian development in the Arab region. Lootah, who is the Acting CEO of the foundation, said the Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011 is one of foundation’s aims for a society based on knowledge economy in the Arab world, and is ordered by Shaikh Mohammad. Lootah added that from the initiative comes the Arab Knowledge Report as part of a strategic cooperation between MBRF and the UNDP, which builds on the basic findings of the Arab Knowledge Report for 2009. These results have revealed a knowledge gap. Affirming that these gaps can be dealt with  by motivating the future generations by  galvanising the energies. Lootah said it is important to let people participate in issues and listening to their suggestions that would help cover the knowledge gap in the Arab region. For this, the foundation has provided a platform for public and experts for open communication as well as discussions through the launch of a website created specially for the report — two Facebook accounts and a Twitter account . Dr Gaith Fariz, the director of Arab Knowledge Report, said the report covered educational statistics from four Arab countries — the UAE, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen. “We were able to access information in those countries about education and we were welcomed by them despite the fact that we know that it will be difficult for us to access this from many Arab countries,” he said. “We got approval from the ministries of education who provided us with the required statistics and information,” he said. He said each country has its own set of educational problems and there will be no unified solution, but the report will work on finding the best policies on education that can be implemented in Arab countries. “The Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011 is characterised by the pioneering field surveys which may be conducted as extensively and comprehensively for the first time in the Arab region. In order to further approach the reality; case studies were conducted in some Arab countries (the UAE, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen) which were chosen in this pilot study to reflect to some extent, the different regions in the Arab area. “And for the first time in the Arab region, the methodology and mechanism used in the preparation of this report, measured the skills, values and enabling environments simultaneously. In addition, workshops were conducted in these countries, and were attended by experts and stakeholders. It is hoped that this will allow in the future for the development and adoption of tools and methodologies to measure the readiness of future generations to access the knowledge society, and can extend its usage in future studies whether in the Arab region or other countries from around the world. “The Arab Knowledge Report 2010/2011, in which many experts from different Arab countries in addition to the team in Dubai participated, includes many innovative tools and significant results which we present to the Arab society and the entire world.” “We at the Regional Bureau for Arab States, United Nations Programme for Development, are very proud of this strategic partnership with the Foundation which resulted in this valuable report. Our report for this year is the second in a series of Arab Knowledge reports, which addresses one of the most significant components of the knowledge society represented in the “Arab citizen” and methods to prepare him to participate in building the knowledge society and to benefit from its results. This will help in achieving a sustainable human development and ensure the dignity and welfare of the Arab citizen. As we stressed in the report, the process of preparing the Arab youth is an overall societal responsibility, as we are facing a process that goes beyond the responsibility of the schools’ systems and government institutions, but extends to incorporate all societal activities, including religious institutions, and civil society organisations to exert efforts to enrich the Arab youth with what they deserve of preparation and training to compliment the requirements and challenges of the modern era”. 

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