HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org) and member of the World Trade Organization Panel of Advisors on "Defining the Future of Trade" took part in the Oman Investment Forum held at Al-Bustan Palace, The Ritz Carlton in Muscat.
The Forum gathers key decision makers including government officials, leading industry figures and the international business community at one united platform to facilitate the growth of Oman’s economy.
In his Democratization of Education opening speech, Abu-Ghazaleh stated that the technology we are witnessing today marks an unprecedented step towards human progress in which he gave an example that smart phones today have more computing power than the computer systems that guided Apollo 11 to the Moon over 40 years ago.
"Information technology has improved our lives in both measurable and immeasurable ways and has revolutionized nearly every system and industry around the world," he said.
But, according to Abu-Ghazaleh, there is one system that lags behind this technological revolution and that is higher education.
"Our approach to higher education has not changed in generations. It remains an exclusive anachronism – and in many cases, inflexible to the progress of our day. Why have other industries boomed while higher education has been stifled?" he pointed out.
Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh who introduced Talal Abu-Ghazaleh University (TAGIUNI), a quality global e-campus university providing digital classroom education for every student on earth and will start accepting students in 2013 explained what does democratizing education mean?
"Imagine if you are a financially disadvantaged student in a country where the costs to travel abroad for education is unthinkable. Imagine that the only way to improve your situation is to have access to world-class education. Imagine a one-stop virtual portal that allows you to earn a degree from America, vocational training from Australia, and lessons in Mandarin from China – in order to be hired for a job here in Oman," he said.
"Imagine if there was a system in place that would take a ground up approach with students, so they could achieve their goals. A system that wasn’t interested in high student turnover rates, but one where success of educational outcomes was paramount; and the teaching of applicable skills was its primary focus. A system that attributed its success to its alumni and held responsible, institutions that inadequately prepared students for the workforce. Imagine it was accessible without leaving your home, without ever having to travel or needing a visa. This is a great need for people not only in developing countries, but citizens around the globe," he added.
"TAGIUNI is my endeavor to democratize education, promote global citizenship, and empower citizens who have been disenfranchised by the technological revolution. My mission is to make accredited educational programs accessible to everyone, everywhere," he stated.
Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh's vision of world-class education as a human right will take the form of TAGIUNI, a global educational alliance that has partnerships with institutions around the globe to reach across cultures, to learners who are unable to afford the costs of travel.
At the end of his speech, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh called on attendees to share his vision saying:" This Forum is an opportunity to consolidate our efforts together towards developing a more inclusive knowledge society for a prosperous future of our young people. We look forward to developing our role to facilitate comprehensive access to education and power the engine of innovation for society as a whole."
Speakers from around the world representing various key sectors joined HE Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh at the Forum.