Courtesy of ‘Gulf News’…

Dubai: Non-academic knowledge and skills have become critical in future-proofing students, Minister of State for Public Education said at the Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) conference in Dubai on Tuesday.

Addressing GUESS delegates at the opening ceremony, Jameela Bint Salem Al Muhairi said during her inaugural keynote that besides equipping UAE students with advanced technical and scientific skills and knowledge to prepare them to lead the country successfully in the near future, it was also essential to teach them the values of tolerance and compassion.

Such values, she added, are significant because of their lasting positive impact on society as a whole.

The UAE became the first country in the world to launch a Ministry of Tolerance in 2016. This year is also the ‘Year of Tolerance’ in the UAE, where the values of tolerance are taught in all schools as part of the mandatory new Moral Education curriculum.

Al Muhairi said: “Trends in the uses of technology in education, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Blockchain and other recent developments have emerged. It is essential that we address all these changes and take the initiative in studying them and how to use them to develop learning and learning processes.”

She added: “Our responsibility lies not only in educating students in modern education but also in preparing compassionate, tolerant generations who are fully aware of what is going on around them. They will be responsible individuals who will make the right choices that positively affect the society as a whole. This is the principle of lifelong learning that we want our schools to develop in our students.”

Also speaking at the ceremony, Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director-General, Finnish National Agency for Education, concurred with the minister, saying any education system needs to be renewed continuously and must include the individual learner, schools and society.

He shared Finland’s successful collaboration with start-ups and educational technology experts as a powerful platform for developing student skills that have lifelong relevance and value. He described this focus as “the informal education” sector that should comprise the majority of learning.

The director-general also talked about the idea of “deep learning”, beyond the scope of AI, which only humans can accomplish because of their ability to apply knowledge in variety of contexts, which are not pre-programmed as in the case of AI.