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    ICESCO Webinar: Use of information technology and AI key to improving education quality

    11 June 2020

    Participants in the educational webinar held by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), under the theme “Technology in Service of the Continuity of the Educational Process” called for joint actions among the ICESCO Member States to develop inclusive institutionalization of distance learning in regulatory and legislative frameworks. They also called for promoting research works and studies in the field of educational technology, establishing educational institutions on the gains of the technological revolution and prospects of the knowledge-based economy, and supporting the transition to becoming digital institutions.

    The webinar discussed the current situation on the use of technology and its prospects in education during and after the pandemic. It saw the participation of the respective Ministers of Education of Palestine and Côte d’Ivoire, ICESCO Director General, 20 educational professionals, university professors, and other experts in the field of education science and educational technology concerned with the continuity of the educational process during and after the pandemic in the ICESCO Member States.

    In his address at the webinar’s opening session, Dr. Marwan Awartani, Minister of Education of the State of Palestine, addressed the experiment of the development of the educational system in the State of Palestine, discussing the obstacles and challenges that faced the educational officials to ensure the continuity of the educational process during this pandemic. For her part, Dr. Kandia Camara, Minister of National Education, Technical Education and Vocational Training of Côte d’Ivoire, stated that despite the negative impact of the pandemic, it had been a good opportunity to support educational systems to address crises, disasters and states of emergency.

    Moreover, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director General, stated in his address that school curricula need urgent development through the use of information and communication technology in service of the continuity of the educational process. He also stressed the need to look for effective tools to link education with artificial intelligence, which advanced tremendously in term of its techniques, underscoring that technological advancement will be a major step towards developing education and will lead the way to improve the quality of education in a way that achieves Sustainable Development Goal 4, “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality.”
    The webinar’s first session discussed the theme “E-learning: opportunities and challenges during and after COVID-19”. Speakers during this session included Dr. Majed Abdullah Alosaimi, General Director of Manarat Al-Fikr International Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who talked about the topic “COVID-19 crisis and the school of the future: from theory to practice”; and Dr. Assaad Mahmoud El Sahmarani, Professor at Al-Imam Al-Ouzai University, Expert in education from the Republic of Lebanon, who addressed the issue of “E-learning and how to make it attractive to students.”

    Moreover, Dr. Boutaina El Ghalbzouri, Professor at the Faculty of Letters and Humanities in Kingdom of Morocco, discussed the advantages of distance e-learning in university in comparison to conventional education. For his part, Dr. Rachid Albakali, Professor of curricula and teaching in the Kingdom of Morocco, talked about some of the Arab world’s leading experiences in e-learning, which has become in need of institutionalization in all its aspects through re-drafting a new curriculum and training teachers. At the same time, Dr. Radouane Rhenimi, Professor at Ibn Zohr University, Kingdom of Morocco, reaffirmed the need to work on achieving meaningful distance education capable of scoring positive outcomes.

    The second session discussed the theme, “Post-COVID-19 world: fast transition to the digital school”, during which Dr. Khalid Samadi, Ex-Secretary of State in Charge of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Kingdom of Morocco, called for looking at the current global situation as an opportunity to foresee the future rather than a crisis and reflect on the major changes witnessed by the educational systems. In the same vein, Dr. Abdellatif Kidai, Dean of the Faculty of Education Sciences, Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, stated that the University of the Future contributes to building a knowledge-based economy because it nurtures innovation in a way that helps to integrate into the AI society.

    Furthermore, Dr. Ahmed Ouzzi, Professor of Psychology at Mohammed V University, stated that educational systems need a comprehensive upgrade that is mindful of the changes and challenges of the future. Discussing the same theme, Dr. Abdelrhani Moundib, Professor at Mohammed V University, Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, maintained that we need major changes but be aware of the implications revamping the educational system; while Dr. Mohammed Derrij, Professor of education science at Mohammed V University, Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, presented the rotation model as an offshoot from the idea of distance attendance that combines virtual education and face-to-face learning in classes.
    The webinar concluded with several recommendations, including intensifying meetings, coordinating with the competent parties in the ICESCO Member States, and taking advantage of societies’ timely awareness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, preparing integrated rehabilitation programmes for educational professionals to achieve concrete change in teaching methods and tools and building new models and processes for school assessment.
    The webinar saw wide views through its live broadcasting on ICESCO’s Facebook page. The full webinar is available on the following link: https://www.facebook.com/ICESCO.Ar/videos/1630702797104720/

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