Believe in the value of innovation in education and act decisively and quickly to resuscitate the Education For All goals, Qatar Foundation Chairperson HH Sheikha Mozah Nasser al-Misnad urged while opening the first World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) yesterday.
“We will strive to ensure that this summit and the subsequent annual meetings renew our commitment to education as a basic right in shaping our identity in line with Qatar’s strategic vision for the year 2030,” she said in her welcome address.
As many as 1,000 leading education stakeholders, opinion leaders and decision-makers from 120 countries and from the spheres of education, politics, international institutions, NGOs, grassroots movements, the private sector, media and multimedia, culture and the arts are attending the three-day event.
HH Sheikha Mozah described education as the key in building a culture of peace instead of a culture of despair for the present and future generations.
“Through this distinguished audience we hope to set the foundations for a forum to expand dialogue and to encourage innovation in order to develop thought, create opportunities and come up with practical solutions that link educational solutions to the requirements of sustainable development,” she observed.
Unesco’s Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, HH Sheikha Mozah said that despite all efforts the UN agency’s Education for All programme remained on the shelf.
“Due to the slow progress and challenges in meeting the Education For All goals, we fear they will be discarded if we do not act decisively and quickly to resuscitate them,” she cautioned.
“To this end, I reaffirm, without hesitation, my commitment and responsibilities to Unesco, the United Nations, academic forums and other entities to loudly sound the alarm with regard to the often intentional and premeditated threat to the right to education,” HH Sheikha Mozah declared.
The first step in this direction is to admit and acknowledge the seriousness of this imminent crisis faced by the whole of humanity.
“This is not an overstatement or an exaggeration but it is a reality we deal with at every moment, a reality which we often deny, unwilling to make true commitments and to bear the responsibility of finding innovative solutions capable of containing this crisis,” she said.
What is done often, according to HH Sheikha Mozah, is a timid circumstantial reaction responding to the reports of research and development centres, superficial and temporary solutions which fade away rapidly.
“This summit requires us to debate deeply and discuss a series of issues at the core of the right to education in order to draft an agreement on which we can build our next steps,” she maintained.
Innovation in education, which is the focus of this summit, should become an achievable and executable process.
“Normally when innovation is addressed, we accentuate the role of industry, technology and business sectors and I believe that this approach is both simple and naïve,” she said.
Innovation should be at the heart of the education, the possibilities of which ought to be placed in its global context rather than being confined to keeping up with technological advances in order to meet market and competition demands.
“And because innovation stems from the society and is not imposed on it, it should therefore be a part of the identity of educational institutions, strengthening the spirit of taking initiatives, and making way for students, teachers and parents to be partners in the decision making process in a democratic, transparent and responsible atmosphere,” HH Sheikha Mozah maintained.
Given that the duty of education does not stop at the level of conveying knowledge but extends to teaching the values linked to the social and cultural pillars inside local societies, the concept of pluralism should also play its part.
“During the coming few days, all of us will work on complementing our efforts to analyse the status of education and to diagnose its problems but most importantly to reach together, proposals and an innovative road map which reflect our common convictions,” she said.
HH Sheikha Mozah, the patron of WISE, described innovation in education as the cornerstone for building a forum of international peace.
She recalled that it represented one of the most important pillars for development, as HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani had confirmed in one of his speeches.
HH Sheikha Mozah was of the view that the Arab world had to believe more than anyone else in the value of innovation in education.
The Qatar Foundation chairperson concluded by quoting Nietzsche’s words, “innovation is a cause for relief when it does not detach from the past.”
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