The General Secretariat of the Khalifa Award for Education has concluded the third international conference, titled Education as a Pathway from Empowerment to the Future.

The conference, organised by the award under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the UAE, Deputy Prime Minister, Head of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa Award for Education, featured experts and specialists from the country, the Arab World and beyond.

Research and scientific studies were deliberated on education development, revolutionary global experiences in early education, and the use of advanced technology and artificial intelligence in education via main sessions and applied workshops.

According to Amal Al-Afeefi, Secretary-General of the Khalifa Award for Education, the second day of the conference included a main session titled Education Policies, Structures and Systems: Policies and the Future of Education, moderated by Dr Kareema Al Mazrouei, Advisor to the chancellor of Mohammed Bin Zayed University for the Humanities.

The esteemed guest speaker, His Excellency Mohieddin Touq, Director of the National Council for Curriculum in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, stated that education is a fundamental human right and a long-term strategic investment in the future. Education represents state strength, sustainable growth, and individual and society's prosperity. Nations have recognised this issue and have drastically changed their educational systems to promote inclusiveness, boosting education quality and adaptability to society. These changes have altered education policies, curricula, teaching methods, evaluation, academic environments, and organisational structures.

His Excellency Touq added that educational transformations are destined to occur due to successive developments in science, technology, information systems, and economics and their repercussions on educational thought. The increase in competition between countries for intellectual and scientific assets has also given more attention to increasing students' creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial capabilities, whether in general or higher education. His Excellency Touq elaborated on how more attention is being paid to the skills necessary to enter the 21st century, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and creativity, all in a collaborative spirit.

His Excellency Mohieddin Tawq said: “All successful experiences in the world indicate that educational progress is based on a set of fundamental principles and foundations such as clarity of vision and goals, global expectations, intense learning experiences for all, a safe and supportive learning environment, support for the integrated growth of everyone in the school, and development. The continuous professionalism of educators, the optimal use of the place, and the rich interaction with the environment and the local community.”

Key session guest speakers included Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Mualla, Undersecretary for Academic Affairs at the Ministry of Education, and Dr Khalifa Al Dhaheri, Director of Mohammed Bin Zayed University for the Humanities. The expert speakers presented many worksheets and scientific presentations on education policies, structures, and systems and their connection to the developments witnessed by the education sector and the rising progress of technology.

The second day's activities also included three significant sessions that shed light on: The Future of Education: integrating the Role of Educational Institutions and Society, public and University Education, and Postgraduate Studies: Future Achievements and Developments, Intelligence, and Best Practices in Education.

These sessions were moderated by Dr Suaad Al-Suwaidi, Director of the Educational Affairs Office at the Presidential Court, Dr Shamma Al-Naqbi, Associate Dean of Rabdan Academy, and Dr Nawaf Al-Mousa, Assistant Professor – EBTIC. The guest speakers in these sessions: His Excellency Dr Abdul Rahman bin Muhammad Al-Asmi, Director General of the Arab Education Bureau for the Arab Gulf States in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, His Excellency Dr Faisal Al-Ayyan, CEO and Director of the Higher Colleges of Technology Complex, Dr Ghaleb Al-Rifai, President of Al Ain University, Dr May Al-Taee, Vice-chancellor of the Emirates College for Advanced Education, and Dr Constantine Andoniou, Associate Professor in Education at Abu Dhabi University, and Walid Nsouli, Strategic Sales Director at the Technology Strategies at Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company - Du.

The experts participating in these sessions discussed their foresight regarding the development of the education system and its keeping pace with the technological development witnessed in the era that affects the nature of the learning environment at various educational levels. They also reviewed several challenges facing this development and the mechanisms that enable academic institutions to interact with them continuously.

Al-Afeefi stated that the conference featured various practical and stimulating workshops to enlighten administrative and teaching staff on the essential skills needed to enhance the educational process. The workshops also aimed to empower parents to keep up with the rapid advancements in this crucial sector, mainly using advanced technology and artificial intelligence in education.

Al-Afeefi elaborated on the offered applied workshops on both days of the International conference. The first is entitled The Role of the Family in Enabling the Child to Make Decisions and Bear Responsibility, presented by Dr Sarah Al Saadi, Advisor in the Special Projects and Partnerships sector at the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority. A second workshop entitled The Role of Educational Awards in Improving the Quality of Education was presented by Dr Jameela Khanji, a Member of the Executive Committee of the Khalifa Award for Education. On the conference’s second day, a workshop entitled Adaptive Learning: Designing Education for Gifted Learners and Students with Learning Challenges, presented by Dr. Sadiq Madraj, Associate Professor at the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Zayed University, and the final workshop is Mastering Digital Skills in Social Media to Improve the Quality of Education was presented by Jihad Al-Saadi, a Higher Education Expert at Commission for the Academic Accreditation - the Ministry of Education.

Al-Afeefi valued the involvement of education experts during these hands-on sessions and workshops, as it contributes to the conference's mission and objectives of promoting excellence in education. Al-Afeefi also praised the exchange of thoughts and experiences of the most influential worldwide techniques.