Saudi Arabia’s Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh stressed on Monday that envisioning the future of the education quality is an inevitable necessity that obliges world countries to double their preparations to all educational developments and changes.
Dr. Al Al-Sheikh’s remarks came during his participation in the Arab Forum to Envision the Future of Education Quality in Arab Countries titled “Education preparedness for the future: safe and sustainable return to education and learning”, which was organized remotely by the UNESCO’s Regional Center of Quality and Excellence in Education in cooperation with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO).
Addressing the forum, he said: “Education is facing unprecedented challenges, top of which are the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its role in exacerbating economic crises, in addition to other challenges that can be seen in the accelerating cognitive and technological developments.”
He stressed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s initiatives in cooperation with UNESCO and establishing the Regional Center of Quality and Excellence in Education was an umbrella for organizations to meet and realize effective communication to guarantee that education acquires the envisioned quality and excellence, adding that these steps are part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s continuous endeavors to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals that aim at realizing a global future full of peace, goodness and growth for all.
Dr. Al Al-Sheikh pointed out that the education ministry has exerted qualitative efforts over the past two years and other efforts to guarantee safe and sustainable in-person return to educational institutions this year, in a way that clearly reveals the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s regional and international ability to administrate crises and its exceptional efforts in limiting the repercussions resulting from the pandemic, maintaining the safety of citizens and residents, and ensuring the continuation of the educational process without interruptions and with high quality.
Stressing that all these efforts resulted in building a unique Saudi model, the minister cited e-education services represented by “Madrasati Platform” that was classified among the best seven global platforms in e-education after a development study by eight international organizations on e-education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a reference comparison with 174 countries, noting that the university education also managed to achieve a qualitative leap in the classification of the best universities in the world through having 15 Saudi universities on the 2020 Times Higher Education World University Rankings and on the Shanghai and QS rankings.
Concluding his speech, the minister reaffirmed the importance of reviewing joint expectations at the regional level, providing innovative solutions to support the quality of education during crises, creative response for the future with all possible options and possibilities, and discussing all proposals that support the efforts of education ministries in Arab countries in a bid to ensure safe and sustainable return for education and learning.
For his part, Director General of UNESCO’s Regional Center of Quality and Excellence in Education Dr. Abdulrahman bin Ibrahim Al-Medaires stressed that the post-COVID-19 recovery phase requires envisioning the future of education and facing the challenges of the next phase, where, in return, we should be more flexible and open to the future with all its options and be prepared for it, noting that these challenges give us opportunities and hopes that can be invested for development and progress to realize the envisioned education quality and excellence.
The three main aspects of the forum comprise regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic to maintain the continuation of education and learning; safe and sustainable educational environments in usual and unusual contexts; and rethinking innovative solutions for preparedness for the future and speeding up procedures to realize Goal 4 of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.