United Arab Emirates Asserts Commitment to Education during Director-General’s Visit
UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova praised the United Arab Emirates for its commitment to education and encouraged expanded support across the region during a meeting with Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry, on 16 March 2014.
“We are working in the same vein,” said the Director-General, referring to diversified cooperation with an international reach.
This includes the UNESCO-Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers, the UNESCO/Hamdan Award on capacity building for teachers and teacher trainers in support of curriculum reforms, and an initiative with the Al Maktoum Foundation initiative on improving literacy levels and life skills among youth and women in Somalia.
Stressing the importance of making education a priority on the post-2015 development agenda and achieving better quality through better teachers, she encouraged UAE to have “a strong voice” in advocating for a holistic approach in these critical debates.
In the face of urgent human challenges that require collective action, Irina Bokova suggested joint action, including for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq; educational support to Yemen, and for girls’ education in Pakistan and other countries where deep gender inequalities remain.
Regional cooperation was reinforced during this visit to the United Arab Emirates by the signing of an agreement with the Director-General of the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States (ABEGS), Dr Ali Ben Abdelkhalek Al-Karni, based in Saudi Arabia.
The agreement foresees projects in literacy, teacher training, policy and planning, and education for peace and human rights -- all areas identified as priorities in the new strategy of ABEGS.
Mrs Bokova also commended ABEGS for supporting work on national Education for All assessments, in cooperation with the Regional Centre for Educational Planning, based in Sharjah (UAE). These assessments are a vital tool for taking stock, shaping the post-2015 development agenda and holding governments accountable, said Mrs Bokova.
The UAE shared its development vision at the opening of the Global Education and Skills Conference in Abu Dhabi. Addressing an audience of government, business and civil society leaders, the Minister for Culture, Youth and Community Development, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, asserted that education was the foundation of the nation’s development since its founding in 1971.
“Building a generation of educated and knowledgeable youth through education is our most essential commitment,” said the Minister.
He challenged the Forum’s participants to envisage education systems that nurture new ways of thinking and encourage students to become global citizens through “encountering the world outside and building international relationships,” asserting that “the highest achievement of a nation lies in the strength of its education.”
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