Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh underlined the importance of analyzing. Besides, evaluating the impact of the accelerated digital transformation and technologies on education and society as a whole.
He pointed out that the coronavirus pandemic continues to cast a deep; and direct shadow on the world at the social and economic levels;” which will accelerate the digital transformation of societies.
This will require a need to test the flexibility of educational systems and their resilience and recovery. Besides, adopting new and innovative educational methods, Al-Sheikh said.
He added that the pandemic is an opportunity that must be seized, and “not just a passing crisis.”
The education minister made the remarks during his speech at the meeting of G20 research ministers; held in Trieste, Italy, on Friday.
The emerging opportunities stimulate our awareness about the need to persevere and face new challenges, Al-Sheikh said.
He added that successful leadership is the one who sees the necessity of involving every member of society. He is also keen to gain their trust and encourage them to adopt digital transformation; and innovative technologies in education and work.
The education minister noted the importance of the data we choose, collect and build upon our new societies at this stage, and to ensure that data protection and cybersecurity systems are able to protect our citizens, their privacy, their rights and human aspirations.
Investment in digital transformation
In his speech, Al-Sheikh addressed “the Kingdom’s investment in digital transformation, and its link to Vision 2030”; reviewing the Kingdom’s investment in academic programs and degrees in advanced digital skills, information and communications technology, cybersecurity, data science and artificial intelligence, as well as investment in innovation, entrepreneurship and research.
He pointed out that Saudi Arabia now ranks second globally among countries committed to cybersecurity at the global strategic level; according to the Global Cybersecurity Index 2020. Besides, ranking first in the Arab world, and ranks 14th globally for publishing the largest number of research papers published on the coronavirus.
These major achievements show the extent of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to progress and evidence-based development, in addition to the fact that 84 percent of the research carried out in the Kingdom was conducted within public universities, Al-Sheikh added.
The education minister said that Saudi Arabia in the transitional phase that the world is going through is focusing on the areas of research and innovation to ensure that the new digital economy developments lead everyone to the future represented by the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which focuses on digital learning, digital health, smart cities, e-government, e-health, cybersecurity and research.
He also pointed out that the education ministry has benefited from the great progress in digital transformation, as the Ministry has worked with all Saudi universities to provide training and study programs in digital learning, digital work, and digital health. In addition to digital government, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity; as well as digital creativity and science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
Al-Sheikh called for working together to maintain dialogue, exchange experiences, and devise creative solutions to provide digital, inclusive and sustainable university education; as well as work to place human capital, human rights, respect and dignity in our societies at the heart of all its operations and services.
He extended his thanks and appreciation to Italy, president of the G20; for establishing the academic caucus as a new working group; and placing university education, research and innovation as a major focus on its agenda. Besides, praising the efforts of the Italian Minister of Universities and Research, Dr. Maria Cristina Mesa for the opening speech of the meeting.
The G20 ministerial meeting dealt with mechanisms to advance digital skills; raise awareness about them in university education; and promote shared values in the management of digital technologies. In addition to ensuring the quality of communication and infrastructure; within the opportunities for international cooperation provided by digital technologies.