Ministry official says education is a key to achieving sustainable development and transition to knowledge economy

Education professionals meet in first in-person event for sector at GESS Dubai in post pandemic era


Education is an essential pillar to venture into the future, achieve sustainable development, and transition to a knowledge economy, said H.E. Dr. Mohamed Ebrahim Al Mualla, Undersecretary for Academic Affairs, UAE Ministry of Education.

Addressing this year’s edition of GESS Dubai 2021, the first for the education sector in the Middle East after the peak of pandemic, Al Mualla said, “Our presence here today constitutes an exceptional opportunity to discuss contemporary and emerging educational issues, and build on educational achievements, following a difficult period the world witnessed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which cast a shadow over several sectors, including education.”

According to Al Mualla, the next fifty years in the UAE’s education sector will focus on fostering a high-quality education system that ensures competitiveness at the early childhood stage; an innovative global educational system that enhances future skills; alignment of higher education outputs with the needs of the future labor market; and an advanced and flexible national qualifications system that copes with the requirements of future economic development. “This is in addition to a sustainable service system for people of determination, starting from early detection to leading the future, and a proactive holistic system for nurturing talent that stimulates production and competitiveness, and finally, well-being and sustainable quality of life in learning environments, he added.

Meanwhile, H.E. Birgit Lao, Ambassador-at-large for education, Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, talked about wellbeing in the time of hybrid learning in addition to how the Estonian education system survived the remote learning crises suddenly brought about by Covid-19.

During her presentation, she shared the findings of a study conducted in Estonia during the Covid-19 pandemic focusing on wellbeing during distance learning. Sharing some of the survey’s highlights, she said, “More than 50 per cent of the students liked distance learning, and around 24 per cent of parents noticed study difficulties. More importantly, about 87 per cent of the students solved their individual tasks.”

Dr. Petar Stojanov, Global Partner, Innovation, Talent and Future Strategy at Black, talked about the future of education and how technology and talent are shaping the future of education. He said, “I want to make a very productive statement as I stand here on stage at a technology education conference to tell you that technology is not the answer. But it is the enabler of it.”

He mentioned that the World Economic Forum’s top 10 important skills in the workforce are complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making, service orientation, negotiation, and cognitive flexibility.

But, he said, “I would argue to all of you that these are not the skills that we’re teaching young people at the moment.”

Welcoming education professionals from around the world to this year’s edition of GESS, Matt Thompson, Project Director, Tarsus, organisers of the Middle East’s leading education show said, “Today, we look to the future with optimism as we take inspiration from our speakers and experts who see a great opportunity for education to be a significant tool for transformation for progress and sustainable development.

The three-day event features more than 140 speakers and over 150 CPD accredited sessions. Scheduled on November 14 to 16, 2021 at Zabeel Halls 4, 5 & 6 of the DWTC, GESS Dubai is free to attend for education professionals and will also feature the latest education-focused products and solutions from over 400 local and international companies and brands from over 30 different countries, with dedicated country pavilions such as the UK, Germany, India and Korea.