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The panel discussion held in Etisalat Academy was attended by prominent thought leaders in technology and education including Ali Al Ahmed, Chief Corporate Communication Officer for Etisalat; Dr. Arif Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of Khalifa University of Science Technology & Research; Najlaa Al Rawi, Project Manager, Strategic Planning Office, Abu Dhabi Education Council; Dr Eisa Al Bastaki, Chief Executive of UAEICT Fund, Etisalat; and Abdullah Amiri, Associate Professor - Mechanical Engineering, UAEUniversity.
The session was important in light of technological challenges facing the education sector in the country. The panelists discussed latest ICT technologies that can be used to overcome these challenges.
The session began with Mr Al Ahmed's opening address highlighting Etisalat's ongoing commitment to support the UAE's education sector. "At Etisalat, learning and skill development in the UAE is a key component of our corporate social responsibility approach. In this regard, the Corporation continues to support a variety of activities undertaken by ministries and other entities, with the aim of contributing to the nation building process. Etisalat already enables e-learning and mobile learning through its various partnerships with educational institutions in the UAE."
Dr Al Hammadi gave a presentation on the essential role that learning technologies play in developing high quality talent besides reducing overall time and efforts and cutting down learning costs while enhancing the learning experience.
"Learning technologies have provided alternative tools that are now enabling self-learning and making the learning process more interactive. With the support of these tools, learning is open to all, especially those who are restricted by unavailability of seats or those who cannot enroll in regular learning programmes."
Highlighting the growing use of communication technology across sectors, Dr Al Rawi said that nearly 31 billion searches were being processed on a monthly basis by Google compared to 2.7 billion in 2006. Dr Al Bastaki indicated that Internet users in the UAE had increased by nearly 414% from 735000 users in 2000 to 3.77 million in 2011. Dr. Abdullah Amiri emphasized the importance of investing in educators' qualifications and students' abilities to optimize the benefits of new learning technologies.
The panel agreed that communication technologies were the way forward in enhancing interaction among students and making learning more participatory.
The second session is scheduled to be held early next year and will look at reviewing the achievements within the education sector though the use of learning technologies and state-of-the-art ICT solutions.