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    On World Teachers’ Day: ICESCO Calls for Capitalizing on Pandemic Experiences to Leap into School of the Future

    5 October 2020

    The world celebrates today, October 5, the World Teachers’ Day. In observance of this special annual occasion, celebrated this year under the theme, “Teachers: Leading in Crisis, Reimagining the Future,” the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) reaffirms that education that endorses creativity and leadership and foresees changes, especially relating to AI, is the foundation of comprehensive human development.

    The Organization stressed that facing challenges and crises, making history, and shaping the future are impactful contributions that can only be achieved through strong, advanced education systems where teachers are accorded due importance. Professionally trained and motivated teachers are more likely to better assume their key role in shaping the school of tomorrow.

    Against this backdrop, ICESCO underlines the need to capitalize on the cumulative experiences and the lessons learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Organization added that this pandemic brought about a plethora of challenges and issues that tested the resilience of the education systems in most countries as they attempted to find an alternative learning environment to replace face-to-face classes.

    The pandemic took by storm the education systems and swiftly ushered them into a new phase. It also compelled education officials to embark on new experiences and craft digital educational initiatives. The entirety of the educational corps had to navigate an uncertain situation without proper equipment including meticulous planning, adequate technological and digital infrastructure, and teachers qualified to work on virtual platforms.

    Since the digital school and distance education have become the core of our new reality and the course of our daily life in the post-Covid-19 world, with its new milestones, requires all countries and peoples of the world be more prepared to achieve the necessary shift from the traditional school to the digital school of the future. The new school promises broader prospects and better results and outputs to achieve the various aims of the Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) of the UN 2030 Agenda: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

    The goal demands accelerated structural reform of educational plans, teacher training institutions, educational curricula and programs, and working mechanisms. The next stage will witness stronger presence of AI and its products.

    Amid the transformations witnessed in the education sector, ICESCO calls for intensifying efforts and mobilizing the necessary resources to prevent distance education from turning divisive which increases disparities between learners in the Islamic world.

    Nearly 20% of school-age children are out of school, and equality between male and female students in both urban and rural settings remains much to be desired. The Organization also calls on parents to back the efforts of teachers and ensure more involvement in the educational process and to provide a home environment incubating the values of self-learning, sustainable education, creativity, and leadership. The measures benefit children, especially in the early stages of education.

    ICESCO recommends developing teacher training programs in the Islamic world countries, incorporating digital and technological training in those programs, reforming teacher training institutions, and learning from the experiences of successful countries in the field of teacher training.

    The Organization also recommends focusing in training programs on societal issues to enhance teachers’ roles in entrenching the values of tolerance, openness and peaceful coexistence, dialogue, respect for the Other, and the promotion of the principles of middle stance, moderation, understanding and rapprochement between peoples.

    ICESCO affirms that the teacher will remain a fundamental pillar in the educational process, and modern educational applications will not reduce his value and position in society, regardless of circumstances.

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