Dubai: Educationists, thought leaders and celebrities will be in Dubai on Sunday for the sixth annual Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF).
The two-day forum will generate cutting-edge insights into some of the most important developments shaping education across the world.
Organised by the Varkey Foundation, the forum is a major private sector initiative that contributes to Dubai’s growing role as a catalyst for global educational development.
The GESF will conclude with an awards ceremony highlighted by the $1 million Global Teacher Prize 2018, the fourth time that it is being awarded.
The thematic focus of this year’s GESF of preparing young people for the future echoes the aims of several educational initiatives announced by Dubai’s leadership. One of its most ambitious initiatives, the Arab Reading Challenge launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, aims to challenge students across the Arab world to read more books. The largest-ever Arab literacy initiative, the 2017 Arab Reading Challenge saw more than 7.4 million students from 41,000 schools in 25 Arab countries competing, with incentives of over Dh11 million awarded.
In the UAE alone, over 300,000 students completed reading over 50 books as part of the competition.
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid also launched another challenge last year to help provide a free educational platform for 50 million Arab youth. The Translation Challenge invited scientists, researchers and professionals across the Arab world to contribute to the Mohammad Bin Rashid Arabic eLearning Project by translating math and science material into Arabic from 5,000 English videos and 11 million words.
The translation challenge will help provide content of different subjects, including biology, chemistry, physics, general science and mathematics, to students from kindergarten to grade 12.
Quality education for youth is also a strong focus of the global programmes of Dubai Cares, a subsidiary of Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives (MBRGI).
The organisation is playing a key role in helping achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning by 2030.
Since its inception, Dubai Cares’ has been working towards providing children and young people in developing countries with access to quality education. Its programmes have reached over 16 million beneficiaries in 45 developing countries.
World-class education is a vital pillar of Dubai’s vision for transforming itself into a knowledge-based society.
In 2007, Dubai created the world’s largest free zone dedicated to higher education and the pursuit of intellectual growth — the Dubai International Academic City (DIAC). Home to numerous regional and international colleges and universities, it serves over 24,000 students from all around the world with more than 400 undergraduate and post-graduate programmes. DIAC’s constantly expanding academic community is driving the emirate’s growth as a global educational destination.
For both Dubai and the UAE, education is a fundamental driver of its plan to turn itself into an innovation-driven economy. The country is gearing up for innovation by making changes in the educational curriculum necessary for creating future-ready students. The UAE Centennial 2071 Plans has outlined strategies for diversifying the economy by relying less on oil and focusing on learning programmes in advanced information technology and engineering. This will be achieved through comprehensive investments in education.