Organized by Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
- KHDA-facilitated session explores crucial role of teachers, evolution of the classroom and extra-curricular activities
- Students favor holistic approach, measuring overall development over traditional exam results-based system
Dubai-UAE: 13 March, 2017: A panel of six students discussed the future of education during a thought-provoking workshop facilitated by the KHDA, Dubai Government’s education regulatory authority, at the inaugural UAE Public Policy Forum, held by the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government in Dubai World Trade Centre.
The far-reaching discussion, entitled ‘How Students Want To Learn’, was impressively moderated by 15-year-old Raga Sodum, an International Baccalaureate student at Gems Modern Academy. The students – from Gems Modern Academy and Al Ittihad Private School - gave their perspective on issues ranging from the changing role of the teacher through to the evolution of the classroom and class, the importance of peers and parents, extracurricular activities and what the effective education system would look like in the future.
Speaking on the important role of a teacher, Raga said: “Right now, we can learn subjects such as trigonometry, chemistry and physics at home. We have the textbooks and the internet. But the teacher can provide students with the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’ in learning. The teacher can form that connection between a student and a subject and that power is simply unparalleled. The best teachers will develop curiosity in a subject and that is the key to education.”
The young panel exchanged perspectives on different education systems, comparing the high-pressure life of a South Korean student who might study 15 hours a day to the respected set-up in Finland that places greater importance on fun, with less study and fewer tests. One of the young students concluded that the UAE might consider a position in the middle of the spectrum in order to produce better individuals.
The UAE’s Happiness Meter, a citywide live sentiment capture engine introduced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to measure public satisfaction of UAE residents, was also discussed in relation to a tool that could work in relation to students. The panel suggested that this measurement approach - with input from students related to lessons and subjects - could have real benefits in the UAE and create “the most advanced educational system in the world.”
The students also discussed their blueprint for a modern classroom. One of the panelists stated: “Classrooms have been the same since our parents and grandparents attended school, in terms of table, chairs and chalk or white boards. These should be more flexible, with beanbags and circle groups, to create a more positive outlook and culture. Students are different, some prefer a one-on-one approach with the teacher and some are happy in a larger class. The system should be more flexible. Such an approach would empower the learner and make them responsible for their own decisions. Responsibility brings maturity and that is very important.”
The two-day forum, themed ‘Future Directions of Education Policy’, is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. The workshops, sessions and discussions featured in the forum have drawn the participation of leading local and international education experts and specialists, as well as top decision makers in the field.
Among the dignitaries hosted by the forum His Excellency Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, Her Excellency Jameela bint Salem Al Muhairi, Minister of State for Public Education, His Excellency Dr Ahmad bin Abdullah Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Dr Essa Al Bastaki, President of the University of Dubai.
The UAE Public Policy Forum has partnered with several organizations, including the UAE Ministry of Education, GEMS Education, Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance and United Nations Development Program, to develop the framework of public education policies.