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UNESCO and TAG-Org Launch ICT in Education Report in the Arab Countries

26-Nov-2014 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 8544
Special to ag-IP-news Agency
AMMAN - Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org) in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, held a regional workshop at Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Knowledge Forum. The workshop discussed the report on the Integration of ICT in Education and E-Readiness of schools in five Arab countries; Jordan, Egypt, Oman, Palestine, and Qatar. 
In his opening speech, HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman of TAG-Org, affirmed that there is a close interdependence between education and IT in the sense that education is needed in order to use IT and IT is needed in order to run the educational process.  
He added that in the light of digital education revolution, this interdependence is becoming more and more significant, and global competition in any field cannot be sustained without the use of ICT, therefore, the integration of IT in education is inevitable for the future.
Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh called for speeding up the digital transformation of education in the Arab countries and developing digital educational programs that comply with clear accreditation standards in parallel with the traditional programs in order to keep pace with the global trend towards digital education.
Abu-Ghazaleh stated that during his presidency of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT, he put special emphasis on the close relationship between education and information technology.
He added that the partnership between TAG-Org, the UNESCO, and the League of Arab States in many mutual programs plays a significant role in the process of education in the region.
For her part, Ms. Costanza Farina, UNESCO representative in Jordan commended Jordan for the initiatives that ensure that the Jordanian education system takes full advantage of the immense potential of ICTs for developing a critical mass of human capital that would boost the country’s aspiration to a knowledge economy. 
She also commended the partnership between UNESCO and TAG-Org in the field of ICT in education, which resulted in the issuance of the first report on integration of ICT in education systems in the five Arab countries.
“It is globally recognized that there has been a shift occurring whereby traditional economies are striving to become ‘knowledge economies’. This trend is characterized by the changing demand from manual skills and routine cognitive tasks to growth in new knowledge innovation,” Farina added. 
“Tertiary (higher) education and society as a whole increasingly require highly-skilled students and workers with problem solving abilities as well as communication and teamwork skills. ICT is believed to play a significant role in this transformation.”
Ms. Farina explained that statistics on the integration of ICT in education are important for two reasons.
“Firstly, within a context of increasing use of ICT across many economic and social sectors, ICT metrics are vital to support policy makers in the identification of educational priorities and policy development. Before good policies can be developed, good data must be made available.”
She also explained: “Secondly, ICT in education statistics play a fundamental role in monitoring and benchmarking the global development agenda. The unprecedented strategic opportunities offered by ICTs to improve the quality of education have been underscored as a tool to overcome, among others, the major global challenge of poverty eradication.”
She also outlined that the UNESCO "Education for All Monitoring Report” suggested some progress in the Arab countries' education over the past decade. However, there are still 5 million children pf primary school age are still out of school, and millions of children are likely to be denied the right to education in countries that have suffered – and are suffering - from conflicts and do not report data such as Iraq and now Syria.
For her part, Ms. Majida Zaki, Director of Education and Scientific Research at the League of Arab States stated that this report is just a step toward identifying the strengths and weaknesses of integrating ICT in education in the Arab countries and how this will affect labor market needs and thus on development.
She added, "Today, the world has become a small global village where economic competition depends on human knowledge, the fact that made knowledge market requires new skills and qualifications, thus, new specialties in the field of education were created in order to enhance and develop students' intellectual capacities and meet their learning needs."
She praised the efforts of UNESCO and TAG-Org for launching this important report, expressing her readiness for further collaboration in the future. 
For his part, Dr. Salem Alaktash, Professor at the German Jordanian University, Chairman's senior advisor on ICT, technology and education, addressed several topics that are related to the core services of TAG-Org. One: Talal Abu-Ghazaleh University (TAGI-UNI) emerging as the leading online and digital university through an Alliance with prominent world class universities, Two: Quality standards and accreditation of online and digital education as part of the Arab Organization on Quality Assurance in Education (AROQA), Chaired and resided by HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh.
“As Arab nations, we will continue to seek and secure a position of prominence through collaboration, innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity. The key to our success is the acquisition, absorption, creation and application of knowledge, science, and technology, with digital education and use of e-Infrastructure will make it possible,” he said.
“This workshop is an opportunity to consolidate our efforts together towards creating a prosperous future for our young people. We look forward to your participation in ASREN and AROQA conferences in Oman in December to share and link with you in order to facilitate comprehensive access to resources, education, and innovation for our society as a whole,” he concluded.
The workshop was attended by participants from Algeria, Oman, Yemen, Qatar, representatives of diplomatic missions, specialists from the public and private sectors, academics, and representatives of civil society organizations and the United Nations.

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