UNESCO calls for the continuation of blended learning in universities in Iraq, during the launch of the Second International Conference on E-learning

The Research and Development Department of the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research held the Second International Conference on E-learning, and a number of university presidents as well as Iraqi and international experts took part in its first session.

In his opening speech during the conference launch, which was held via a closed electronic circuit, the advisor to the Ministry of Education, Dr. Alaa Abdul-Hassan said that since the beginning of the pandemic crisis, the Ministry of Education has taken into account global contexts and procedures, in adapting to health variables and maintaining the quality of education in Iraqi universities.

He pointed out that educational institutions in Iraq have provided an environment for positive interaction through the mechanisms of teaching and learning, and have succeeded in enabling students to overcome the crisis and meet the academic requirements of the past year and the current year.

The participants in the first session, the President of the University of Baghdad, Dr. Munir Al-Saadi, the President of the University of Basra, Dr. Saad Shaheen, and the President of the University of Al-Qadisiyah, Dr. Kazem Jaber Al-Jubouri, all reviewed the achievement of Iraqi universities in providing educational services and sustaining them despite the pandemic conditions, and working according to a flexible policy that takes into account the scientific requirements in light of the mechanisms of blended learning.

For his part, Dr. Anasse Bouhlal, Programme Specialist at the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Beirut, pointed out that blended education solutions are a necessity during the pandemic, to ensure quality education and achieve the United Nations sustainable development goals, by supporting national education policies, developing and upgrading infrastructure, building institutional capacities, developing the professional aspects and strengthening the academic knowledge infrastructure, according to the pattern imposed by the blended mechanisms.

Dr. Buhlal added that it is not possible to return to the education pattern that preceded the pandemic, and that it is unrealistic to completely adopt virtual education, pointing out that e-learning has its own limitations.

In this context, Dr. Rozhan Muhammad Adrus from Malaysia presented a paper in which he diagnosed the need to further develop electronic infrastructure in universities, keep abreast of emergency changes, and provide alternative digital solutions to continue knowledge attainment in the world.

The Dean of Al-Kafeel College, Dr. Nawras Al-Dahan, and the Coordinator of the Ministerial Electronic Team, Dr. Amer Al-Amir, also took part in the first session. Dr. Al-Amir summarized the experience of the Ministry in the field of digital transformation over a whole year of interaction, during which one million and sixty-seven thousand students and fifty-seven thousand teachers were all able to achieve a success that has been praised by international organizations.

The first session, moderated by Dr. Khaled Al-Mayah, in the presence of more than a thousand five hundred participants from inside and outside Iraq, was concluded with scientific interventions from the President of Al-Karkh University of Science, Dr. Thamer Al-Kazemi, and Assistant President of the University of Mosul for Scientific Affairs, Munir Salem Taha Al-Badrani, who praised the experience of Iraqi universities and their openness to the world, to achieve the educational process goals in Iraq.