WISE collaborates with University of Cambridge and Ministry of Education and Higher Education

Press release
Published October 30th, 2016 - 07:28 GMT
Qatar-based teachers listen to Dr David Whitebread’s keynote address on Early Childhood Education at the WISE@Doha gathering
Qatar-based teachers listen to Dr David Whitebread’s keynote address on Early Childhood Education at the [email protected] gathering

The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) recently hosted a day of presentations and a ‘World Café’ workshop for local educators to explore ways to support and improve Early Childhood Education in Qatar.

WISE teamed up with the University of Cambridge, UK; local WISE partners from the Qatar Ministry of Education and Higher Education; Qatar Academy; Qatar University’s Early Childhood Center; and the Education Development Institute (EDI) at Qatar Foundation for the gathering at Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU) in Education City, which attracted 140 local educators.

In his welcome to participants, Stavros N Yiannouka, CEO, WISE, said: “The early years are perhaps the most critical time in a person’s life, when we can prepare them for success not just in education, but in all other spheres of life.” He said the gathering was an opportunity for participants to understand the science behind Early Childhood Education, and the policies that can make that success a reality. 

The [email protected] gathering took place following the publication of the comprehensive WISE Research Report: ‘Quality in Early Childhood Education: an International Review and Guide for Policy Makers’ last year. Prof David Whitebread, University of Cambridge, the chief author of the report and a distinguished authority in the field, presented a thorough review of the lastest and most significant research in the field.  His address was followed by a panel of education authorities including Ms Aisha Al-Khelaifi, Director of the Early Years Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education; Dr Chris Diane Coughlin, Associate Professor of Child Development and Early Childhood Education at Qatar University; and Mr Ghulam Bhatti, Primary School Assistant Principal, Qatar Academy Sidra. The panel was moderated by WISE Director of Research, Dr Asmaa Al-Fadala.

The panel discussion was followed by a ‘World Café’ workshop intended to gather participants’ diverse responses and pespectives around a set of questions. These included identifying needs for improvement in ECE, in training, involving parents, and the importatnt role of play. Dr Al-Fadala encouraged participants to take “an active role in exploring these topics.” She said the gathered contributions “will help to inform our on-going research” in exploring ways to support Early Childhood Education at all levels in Qatar.

During the workshop, participants remarked on the need for more research within the Qatar context, rather than applying the findings of research done elsewhere. They also called for teachers to take a greater role and responsibility for forming policies around Early Childhood Education.   

Mr Yiannouka said, “WISE doesn’t just want to publish reports. We want to bring those reports to life, we want those reports to positively influence policy. And that’s why you are all here today. We believe we have collected in this room the most relevant stakeholders in Qatar to discuss and to debate ways in which we can put some of what is in the report into practice.”

He thanked the Ministry, especially its Early Childhood Education team, for joining the gathering: “It’s a validation of the work we do to have you present and participate as part of this gathering.” He also thanked the Pre-University division of QF, especially the Education Development Institute, saying, “WISE works not alone but together with partners both at Qatar Foundation, and also overseas.”

WISE, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), is committed to promoting and supporting ECE among educators and policymakers with the ultimate goal of building a diverse, knowledge-based economy in Qatar. 

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Our unique ecosystem—supported by partnerships with leading international institutions—is built on initiatives that address our most pressing challenges, create global opportunities, and empower people to shape our present and future.

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