Muscat: A two-day symposium on “Learning Loss in Light of the Corona Pandemic: Its Effects and Remediation Methods” kicked off under the auspices of HE Dr. Said bin Muhammad Al-Saqri, Minister of Economy on June 24 at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center.
Dr Madiha bint Ahmed Al Shaibaniya, Minister of Education, Dr Rahma bint Ibrahim Al Mahrooqia, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Innovation attended the opening session along with a number of laureates , their Excellency Undersecretaries, Directors General, education experts from international organizations (UNESCO, UNICEF, ESCWA) concerned with the education sector, academics, researchers and specialists from higher education institutions and technical and vocational education, specialists in curriculum development, pedagogical support, evaluation and teacher training and representatives of the Monitoring Unit for the implementation of Oman Vision 2040, the civil society institutions and the private sector, as well as representatives of young people and people with disabilities.
The agenda of the symposium was to find a set of alternatives to mitigate educational losses and deal with its effects according to educational plans in line with the comprehensive approach to address the challenges faced due to the spread of the pandemic.
The Sultanate of Oman, represented by the education sector, has taken the initiative to participate in numerous seminars and meetings in order to exchange experiences on the best practices followed by the education systems in the world for early recovery to ensure the sustainability of education and to build stronger and more flexible education systems that have a greater capacity to serve students.
The symposium began with a speech by Dr Madiha Al Shaibaniya, Minister of Education, in which she said, “Due to the importance of conducting comprehensive educational assessments for the post-pandemic phase, the importance of good compensatory education for all learners, and to build on the successes recorded in light of the spread of the pandemic, this symposium aims to identify the negative impact of the pandemic on the education sector and the remedies for correct losses. This has enabled the education system to find a package of alternatives to mitigate losses and remedy anomalies according to educational plans in line with the comprehensive approach. The Sultanate of Oman, represented by the education sector, has taken the initiative to participate in numerous seminars and meetings in order to exchange experiences on the best practices followed by the education systems in the world for early recovery in post-pandemic phases to ensure the sustainability of education and the building of stronger and more flexible education systems that have a greater capacity to serve students.
The Minister underlined: “Despite the low level of indicators for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular the fourth goal related to education, the United Nations report ranked the Sultanate of Oman first among the countries of the Council of Gulf Cooperation for the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for the year 2022. The report also indicates that the Sultanate of Oman is on track to achieve goals related to many aspects, including the equality in education, which reflects the crucial importance of the file of sustainable development within the national agenda”.
Dr Rahma Al Mahrouqi, Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation, said: “This symposium is full of many positive and progressive ideas, which will undoubtedly have a great impact in illuminating the reality of the world. education in the Sultanate of Oman. and anticipating its future characteristics in line with national strategic plans based on Oman’s vision 2040 priorities and in line with the goals of renewed renaissance and will be a critical tributary to achieving the goals for which it was held, including including the sustainability and quality of education in its two aspects (school education and higher education).
Dr. Rahma Al Mahrouqi said, “Higher education in the Sultanate of Oman has, over the past few years, witnessed steady growth and significant positive transformations that have aligned with rapid global developments in various fields. In this direction, the ministry has taken many measures to support and develop higher education, including paying attention to the professional development training system, increasing the dose of practical training in higher education institutions, diversifying its sources and linking it to the labor market, support the efforts of these institutions to improve the quality of higher education and occupy advanced ranks in international classifications, establish solid foundations for scientific research, innovation and the entrepreneurship in these establishments, and support the creation of innovative start-ups through various programs such as the “Upgrade” program to transform student projects into start-ups and the “Manafa” program which supports the creation of companies based on startups.
Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education, delivered a speech in which she said: “This symposium is indicative of the Sultanate of Oman’s vision of education as a cornerstone for achieving to a sustainable and more prosperous future, as reflected in Oman’s vision 2040. Covid-19 has been a clear call to begin transformation, as our societies have become increasingly dependent on each other and more connected to each other and the digital revolution is affecting and accelerating the pace of change in all aspects of our lives.Climate change and biodiversity loss are also weakening our planet, while inequalities are exacerbating the division of our societies. to these questions, we need to have discussions about what kind of education we need to have a more sustainable, inclusive, resilient and equitable future education, this is in fact the ambition of decide to reinvent the future together.
Giannini also said: “the report published by the International Committee on the Future of Education, is an inspiring and lively document, and an invitation to reflect on current education systems and how to study the paths of transformation in the first place, it is about the acquisition of values and the transfer of knowledge and skills in order to balance our main relationships and our relationships with technology, and of course our relationships with the planet, through new ways of teaching, a new teaching paradigm, a new curriculum and a different organization of learning.”
A dialogue session was also held on the participation of Omani youth in the UNESCO World Forum and the impact of this participation on enhancing their diverse ideas and knowledge and developing their skills. Zina Al Kindi and Sultan Al Hadhrami, two students from Sultan Qaboos Private School, an Oman UNESCO ASPnet affiliated school, participated in this session. Hilal Al Riyami, who was chosen by UNESCO from among the candidates from the Sultanate as the first young Omani to present the results and recommendations of the 41st General Conference of UNESCO, also participated in this dialogue session.
Dr Sobhi Al-Taweel, Director of the Future of Learning and Innovation at UNESCO, presented the main document of the symposium, entitled: “Developing new perceptions of our future together – New social contract for education”. He said: “Concluding any social contract for education requires in the first place a common vision of the general objectives of education, and the social contract for education must be based on the fundamental and organizational principles which determine the structure of education systems, as well as on the work that is distributed and undertaken in order to build, maintain and improve these systems. Any new social contract for education must be based on two fundamental principles, namely guaranteeing the right to quality education for life and promoting education as a mutual benefit. Forging a new social contract for education is a crucial step in efforts to jointly develop new visions of our future.
Then, two scientific sessions took place. The first session was chaired by HE Dr. Bakhit bin Ahmed Al-Mahri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation for Scientific Research and Innovation. The session focused on (The reality of education through international reports and education indicators) and included four presentations. The first document was entitled: “The Report on the Quality of Education in Arab Countries”, presented by Dr. Khaled Abu Ismail of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). Shamsabint Khamis Al Balushi, specialist in economic indicators at the National Competitiveness Office, presented the second document, entitled: “National indicators of education in international reports”. The third paper, titled: ‘Policies and Indicators for the Fourth Goal in the Sultanate of Oman’, was presented by Badr bin Sulaiman Al-Harthi, Director of the Education Sector Department at the Omani National Committee for education, culture and science within the ministry. Dr. Maryam bint Belarab Al Nabhani, Director General of Private Universities and Colleges at the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation, presented the fourth article, titled: “Entrepreneurial Skills and Future Jobs in the Sultanate of Oman”.
The second session was chaired by Prof. Dr. Abdullah bin Khamis Ambosaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Education, which focused on “The Future of Education”. It also included the presentation of four communications. The first was titled: “Response, Recovery and Reinvention: Holistic Lessons for Achieving Educational Results in the Sultanate of Oman after the COVID-19 Pandemic” and was presented by Francesca Salem, Head of Planning , monitoring and evaluation at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Sultanate. Maryam Al-Maskari, from the Oman Vision 2040 Implementation Monitoring Unit, presented the second document, titled: “Education in Oman Vision 2040”, while Kawthar Al-Hanai from the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technologies presented the third article was titled “Digital transformation in the education system”. The fourth paper, entitled: “E-Learning in light of the Corona Pandemic”, was presented by Dr. Yahya bin Khamis Al-Harthi, Director General of the General Directorate of Curriculum Development at the Ministry of Education.
The second day of the symposium includes nine scientific sessions, three of which take place simultaneously. These sessions focus on various themes, including the role of the teacher in transforming education, learning and digital transformation, an inclusive, equitable and safe educational environment, investing and financing education. , scientific research and innovation in the orientation of education to create a knowledge-based economy and education. for global citizenship and educational quality control.