RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Education’s national Madrasati e-learning platform was on Monday hailed by a top UN official as a shining example to the world of a successful distance learning scheme.
Speaking at the International Conference and Exhibition for Education 2022, Prof. Stefania Giannini, assistant director general for education at the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, praised the initiative and described it as important in developing digital learning opportunities for students and teachers.
During Monday’s session, being held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, delegates discussed the use of technology in education, with a particular focus on artificial intelligence, and its vital role in the future development of the education sector.
• Delegates in Riyadh told how Saudi digital education initiative excelled in confronting coronavirus pandemic crisis.
• UAE minister calls for Arab world to unite on education system plan to keep pace with technology.
Giannini said: “The exhibition captures the spirit of what we need today for education and for addressing many challenges and taking the opportunities.”
She pointed out that the coronavirus pandemic had triggered an explosion of innovation to an unprecedented degree that had led to new alliances to ensure learning continuity.
“Our mission now is to reimagine our futures together by forging a new social contract for education that leaves no one behind and equips every child, youth, and adult with the knowledge and skills to flourish throughout life and create a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world for all,” she added.
Speaking at the four-day gathering, Prof. Steve Smith, the UK prime minister’s special representative to Saudi Arabia for education, said that technology was an essential part of the solution.
Addressing the conference, Emirati Minister of Education Hussain Al-Hammadi noted that now was the perfect time for the Arab world to consider a national education system that kept pace with technology, satisfying the needs of a knowledge-based economy.
Egyptian Minister of Education Dr. Tarek Shawki highlighted the pivotal role that technology had played during the pandemic, while the Saudi Ministry of Education’s general supervisor of e-learning, Dr. Auhood Alfaries, spoke about innovative solutions from an international perspective.
She said recent global trends indicated an urgent need to accelerate the adoption of e-learning to support digital sustainability in public education.
Meanwhile, Prof. Hend Al-Khalifa, of King Saud University’s information technology department, highlighted the importance of AI in education and its growing use in daily life.
And Prof. Wendy Purcell, from Harvard University, talked about digital transformation and innovation in e-education and how the pandemic had speeded up the shift toward online learning and digital teaching methods.