The Extraordinary Virtual Conference of Ministers of Education in the Islamic world, held by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), kicked off today in cooperation with the Ministry of Education of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the president of the conference for this session, with the participation of 43 countries, 38 of which are represented at the level of ministers concerned with education, and 5 at the level of deputy ministers, in addition to 10 heads and managers of 12 international organizations.
During the virtual opening session Saudi Minister of Education and President of the Conference Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh delivered a speech in which he welcomed the participants and commended ICESCO for organizing the conference, stressing that the responsibilities of the ministries of education have multiplied during COVID-19.
He added that we gained experiences dealing with the crisis, pointing out that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia started providing distance education services years ago, but what is new is the modernization of this system until it reached 20 live broadcast channels from iEN Education Portal, in addition to making educational content available through different social media platforms and channels for various Saudi universities.
He also said that these systems will continue to work even after the crisis to address the problems of school dropouts.
For his part, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen pointed out that the OIC and its various bodies launched several initiatives in the framework of combating COVID-19, stressing that the Organization and its bodies have paid great attention to member states that in need the most.
The President of the Islamic Development Bank Group Dr. Bandar Al-Hajjar stated that investment in education and training has received the bank’s attention since its establishment 45 years ago, pointing to the bank’s success in financing 20 educational projects with a total value of $ 5 billion, and providing about 17,000 educational grants.
The Assistant Director General of UNESCO for Education Stefania Giannini said that there is an urgent need to adapt to this crisis, which revealed large technical gaps between different countries of the world, adding that about 100 million students around the world are currently deprived of continuing their education due to the lack of availability of online communication technologies, which underlines the importance of education in schools.
Director General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) Dr. Salem bin Mohammed Al-Malik delivered a speech in which he emphasized the need to rehabilitate educational systems in Islamic world countries to be able to face future challenges and adapt to crises and emergencies by developing infrastructures, updating training programs, and employing modern technology.
Participants in the conference discussed in virtual sessions the role of artificial intelligence applications in developing educational systems and presented successful experiences in countries that faced the pandemic to exchange experiences and confirm the preservation of the right to education.
They also reviewed guidance framework documents issued by international organizations on procedures for preparing for a safe return to schools.