UNESCO in collaboration with MOEHE & QNC, launched a Conference on Digital Solutions in Support of Teaching and Learning for (AESN) Students

On 27th of September the, Ministry of Education and Higher Education of Qatar and Qatar National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, in collaboration with UNESCO office for GCC and Yemen in Doha, organized a virtual sub-regional conference on Digital Solutions in Support of Teaching and Learning for Additional Support Needs Students: Experiences and Initiatives

UNESCO as the lead United Nations agency for education has done much to guide international efforts to help countries understand the role ICT can play in helping meet SDG 4 targets. The need to mitigate the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic and the resulting school closures and other disruptions to learning, has highlighted to an even greater degree the importance of ICT in education, and the need for innovative ideas and new tools to provide effective distance learning solutions. It is equally important, and UNESCO’s particular responsibility, to share such tools and best practice, and to provide policy guidance, internationally.

If this is true for learners generally, how much more is this true in relation to students with disabilities who have been, and are being, disproportionally affected by losing, or having reduced opportunities for, direct face-to-face interaction with teachers.

To this end, HE Dr Mohammed bin Abdul Wahed Al Hammadi

Minister of Education and Higher Education Said “The Ministry of Education and Higher Education has been keen to provide governmental integration schools, specialized schools and cadres. Qatar University has been interested in teaching special education bachelor’s, master’s and higher diploma. The integration and support center for people with special needs has also been opened at the university”.

Moreover Dr Hamda Al-Sulaiti, Secretary-General of Qatar National Commission for UNESCO further highlighted the role played by Qatar in including of people of disabilities in the society and by being one of the first countries ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008. To this end, she added that “the Ministry of Transport and Communications has issued a digital inclusion strategy to ensure that all members of Qatari society, especially those with disabilities, have access to information and communication technology”.

She also highlighted that purposefully designed solutions can help people navigate digital spaces and benefit from relevant applications.

To this end, using technology and best practices has been crucial to develop important assessments and evaluation tools.

The conference focused on creating innovative digital solutions to develop relevant teaching methods to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities. Therefore, sharing experiences among different participants, and highlighting good practices contributed to share lessons learned to enhance performance quality of teaching and learning for students with special needs. It also raised awareness of inclusiveness and equity in education so that no learner is left behind.

The keynote speaker, Professor Fengchun Miao, the Chief of the Unit for Technology and Artificial Intelligence in Education at the Education Sector, UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, demonstrated how we could leverage Artificial Intelligence for, in the context of UNESCO’s work on artificial intelligence and education, and the particular challenges of providing access to quality education to persons with disabilities.

Many key players are needed to conjugate efforts to achieve these goals. Teachers, parents and the community play a key role in facilitating the adaptation to, and integration of these technological resources into the learning practices of these students.

Therefore, and in light of the digital transformation era, all aspects of the educational system must be reimagined to achieve the development of skills, methods, and digital resources needed for providing inclusive education for sustainable, equitable, fair, and equal societies.

 

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