Upon the directives of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa Award for Education, H.E. Engineer Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa Award of Education, inaugurated Monday, the 10th of January 2022, the Award’s International Field of Early Learning; a field that falls under the same umbrella of Khalifa Award for Education. H.E. stressed that the United Arab Emirates is a pioneer in launching a global model that raises the status of children and provides them with an environment that enhances creativity and innovation in all areas of Education, social upbringing, health and psychological care, to ensure the healthy growth of the child and refine one’s skills from the very early stages of life.
This came on the sidelines of the press conference held to launch the field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning, in the presence of H.E. Eng. Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa Award, Muhammad Salem Al Dhaheri, member of the Board of Trustees of the Award, Amal Al Afifi, Secretary General of the Award, Fatima Ahmad Al Bastaki, Cluster Manager and the Director of the project of teaching Chinese language in the Emirates Schools Establishment, held at the United Arab Emirates’ wing, Expo 2020, Dubai.
H.E. Eng. Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi commenced the conference stressing that the field of Khalifa Award for Early Learning, in its essence, embodies the keenness of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the State (MGPH), to encourage research and innovations in the field of Early Learning in order to possess high quality and adopt best practices. Early childhood education is a smart investment in the future. Its goal is to create a competent leadership generation that possesses the knowledge and skills necessary to enhance the achievements of its country, supporting its development process and achieving the goals of the "UAE Centennial 2071".
His Excellency pointed out that early Learning is one of the important foundational stages in shaping human life; hence the launch of this award, as a translation of the generous care that education enjoys in general, and early Learning programs in particular, from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the State, Prime Minister, Ruler of Dubai, may God protect him, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, their Highnesses members of the Supreme Council of the Union, Rulers of the Emirates, and the support of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa Award for Education.His Excellency explained that the purpose of launching this field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning is to consolidate a culture of excellence and enrich the educational sector with specialized studies and policies that help achieve a qualitative leap for the education and childcare system, based on the highest international standards, in addition to stimulating human competencies to achieve the future development vision for the United Arab Emirates.His Excellency added that launching this field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning is an important step in building an educational system that aligns with the aspirations of the wise leadership and the national agenda, and contributes to supporting national identity as well as openness to successful global experiences, which translates the exceptional effort made by the state to ensure a promising future for the upcoming generations, and a bright future for the country.His Excellency stressed that the launch of this field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning reflects the great attention given in the United Arab Emirates to early childhood education and provides a qualitative leap at the regional and global level in this important sector.
His Excellency continued to point out that the field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning will open the door to global innovations, and will highlight the best-applied research and practices in the field of early childhood education.
A Vital Addition to the Early Learning Journey
Mrs. Amal Al-Afifi, Secretary-General of the Khalifa Award for Education, explanied that the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field provides a vital addition to the Khalifa Award for Education. The first cycle of the ward will recognize the categories of best research and studies and best programs, curricula, methodologies and teaching methods. Candidates worldwide are invited to submit their applications, whether as individuals, groups or institutions. The winner/s of the Award will be honored with a financial reward estimated to be equivalent to fifty thousand US dollars in addition to a certificate of appreciation and a shield with the Award logo.Mrs. Al Afifi added that the launch of this field comes based on the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa Award for Education, to launch this field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning, with the aim of spreading a culture of excellence and creativity, discovering and appreciating programs, methodologies and advanced teaching methods, encouraging distinguished teachers, activating the role of specialized educational centers, institutions and companies in early childhood, and honoring the best personal experiences and interests in the field of the people of determination in the field of early childhood.Mrs. Al Afifi also pointed out that the field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning reflects one of the main pillars of the UAE Vision 2071, which is based on future-oriented education, to enhance the social, physical, intellectual, creative, psychological, cognitive and emotional capacity in early childhood years. It will further enrich innovative programs designed based on proven research and practices. It will guide educational policy and support the efforts of institutions specialized in early childhood education in the UAE.
The Great Interest of the United Arab Emirates in Early Learning
Ms. Fatima Al Bastaki, in turn, emphasized that the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field attracts a group of experts specialized in early education, from all around the world, as members of the awarding committee, whose efforts will have a great impact in advancing the Award process. The committee includes: Professor Stephen Barnett, Founding Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, the USA, and Chairman of the Awarding Committee, as well as the membership of: Prof. Iram Siraj, Professor of Child Development and Education at Oxford University, the United Kingdom, Prof. Kimi Akita, Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Tokyo, Head of Research in the Creative Schools Network supported by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Prof. Jana Fleming, Director of the Early Childhood Development Department at the University of Tokyo. Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and Fatima Ahmed Al Bastaki, director of a group of schools and director of the Chinese language teaching project at the Ministry of Education in the United Arab Emirates.Fatima Al Bastaki explained that focusing on future-oriented education was one of the most important axes of the UAE Vision 2071, as the vision focused on developing mechanisms to explore individual talents for students from the early school stages.
For his part, Professor Stephen Barnett assured that the importance of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field is that it draws the world’s attention to the great importance of education in the early years of an individual’s life, as it is the cornerstone for achieving the well-being of children and societies, by rewarding outstanding efforts in the field of early learning research, relevant field programs and practices. The “Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field” is also meant to advance the education system and enrich it with research, policies, and practices that assure excellence in children’s education to unprecedented heights of recognition, both nationally and internationally. The Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field values high quality of early learning and recognizes great benefits to children, families, and nations around the world in general and the United Arab Emirates in particular. This field is considered a prominent initiative to appreciate excellence in educational research aimed at developing practical practice in the field of early learning, and recognizing the value of its programs. The award also aims to promote development in this field at the local and global levels. Educational leaders, teachers, parents and all segments of society will benefit from the specialized knowledge that will be highlighted and disseminated. Professor Barnett reflected that " The Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field " rewards the best research and educational programs in the world to support excellence in the field of young children's education, and the award advances the efforts made to develop education in the early years of a child's life and places it in its rightful place among local and global priorities.
Early Learning Research
Professor Eram Siraj, on the same topic, continued: Early Learning research is gaining great importance around the world, as this field is recognized as an important stage of normal human development. The Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field is a rare recognition of the current and growing capacity of distinguished studies and of researchers in this field. It is a timely and simultaneous recognition that will stimulate further excellence and expansion of early childhood research around the world. The field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning, being launced, provides great recognition and appreciation for outstanding research in the field of early Learning, while there is only a limited number of awards that grant this Motivation for the best researchers in this field with the aim of inspiring them, in order to pursue lofty horizons in this regard. The Award provides opportunities for researchers to expand the scope of their research and their influence throughout the world.Professor Siraj continued: There are very few international research awards dedicated to educational research, and there are almost no awards for research in the field of early learning, which makes this field an original and unique contribution to the advancement of the status and value of early childhood research in the world.
Early Learning Programs
Professor Jana Fleming explained: The interest of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field in supporting evidence-based research and practice to create early learning programs for children with special needs is timely and will grant a meaningful contribution to the field around the world. This truly outstanding award will not be limited to developing the capacity of researchers, policy makers and practitioners, but will also inspire them to seek to enrich early childhood programs with the aim of achieving maximum outcomes for all children.
Enhancement of the Quality of Education
For her part, Professor Kimi Akita said: The launch of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning field adds a great opportunity for early childhood educators and specialist researchers around the world. Early childhood education practices are an essential component of the local culture, though high-quality early education systems have common features. The field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field positively contributes to enhancing the quality of early childhood education at the international level, and eventually adds happiness to children. It also contributes to achieving the well-being of families and communities. Thus, we look forward to raising awareness in this field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field in many countries and exchanging dialogue on education issues through the Award, under whose umbrella this new field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning falls.
A Source of Inspiration
Fatima Al Bastaki also contributed on the topic: I am honored to participate in the “Khalifa International Award for Early Learning Field” this year, as an experienced teacher and administrator who has gained in-depth knowledge in the field of early childhood education. I was a source of inspiration for me to witness the appreciation that this field has received on an international scale, in addition to the distinguished quality of work that will be submitted for the award in the two categories of research and application.