Sat 07-10-2017 21:59 PM
ABU DHABI, 7th October, 2017 (WAM) -- Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, UAE Minister of State for Tolerance, highlighted the importance of teachers as mentors and ‘agents of change’ in a ‘Meet the Mentor’ session on the opening day of the Qudwa 2017 Global Teachers’ Forum.
The Q&A session, moderated by Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, founder of Barjeel Art Foundation, centred on the role of teachers in shaping education initiatives that enrich the scientific and cultural content of the UAE’s National Tolerance Programme, launched in June 2016.
"Every teacher spends more time with the children than families do, so their role exceeds parental influence. The curriculum is important but the most important thing for teachers is their own character and personality. Teachers are the agents of change and this applies equally to individuals who have done this for years," she said.
Adding that teachers and parents have an important role to play in our era of ‘fake news’ and online communication, she said, "We have today a prevalent rhetoric of hatred and fake news. Parents and teachers should always validate news when they hear it. This is a persistent challenge we need to combat across the globe."
Explaining the importance of having a Ministry of Tolerance and a National Tolerance Programme in the UAE, even though the country is already seen globally as the embodiment of tolerance, she added, "We live in an era of many changes. In the old days, we would inherit our behaviours from our elders; we would learn from teachers, friends and family. Nowadays, this does not happen the same way. Children are not only getting their information and values from family but from their living environment."
Sheikha Lubna also spoke at length about her own experience, from studying abroad before starting out as a software engineer in 1981, to becoming the UAE’s first female minister. Explaining the philosophy that helped her move from software to policy-making, she said, "When transitioning from software to policy making, the basic focus remained on developing, changing and improving efficiency and productivity. With my move into Cabinet, the main target of the UAE leadership was to achieve happiness. I am mandated to ensure government functions and services are sustainable and of high quality."
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Qudwa 2017 runs on 7th and 8th October at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.