Ministry of Education Signs Pact with Microsoft
Furthering its commitment to transform the region in knowledge based society; the Ministry of Education signed a cooperation pact with Microsoft Gulf yesterday morning “Wednesday 11th March 2009”. The Memorandum of Understanding “MOU” was signed by His Excellency Dr. Hanif Hassan, Minister of Education, and Mark East, Senior Education Director, Microsoft EMEA. The signing is driven by the need for technology education in primary and secondary education systems as the program recognizes the educational value of technology in schools and is designed to foster digital inclusion.
The agreement states the importance of providing schools with training, tailored curriculum development, access to the latest technologies and ability to empower schools to raise the levels of ICT literacy. It also enables innovative teaching with the aim of bridging the digital divide. In addition, both partners will organize various activities for the public school students.
His Excellency Dr. Hanif Hassan, UAE Minister of Education, said: “The cooperation enhances our visions in strengthening the schools with IT infrastructure as they coincides with the strategic objectives of the Ministry of Education in providing all the public schools with modern techniques through all educational levels, employing them in the educational process and utilizing them in management and work achievement”.
His Excellency the Minister of Education also explained that the cooperation pact aims for establishing a school society that will be equipped with the latest educational technologies that comply with the visions and ambitions of the UAE’s leadership. The three program areas under the Partners in Learning agreement that will help students and teachers move beyond the traditional learning models include: Innovative Schools: Providing schools, governments and partners with resources, training, expertise and technology blueprints that help create schools to better prepare students for life and work in the 21st century; Innovative Teachers: Providing teachers with tools, forums and resources that build communities of practice, support collaboration and access to quality content, and challenge educators to integrate ICT into teaching and learning in a meaningful way;Innovative Students: Empowering students to use ICT in their schoolwork and learning and email accounts for each student.
The agreement consolidates the views of the Ministry and Microsoft in providing modern school buildings and environment and the goals of education reform. Through this agreement, Microsoft will provide email accounts for all the students of the public schools and them the efficient training to use Microsoft services and internet. They will also be able to develop their technological and academic skills”, said Dr. Abdalla Al Amiri, Advisor to the Minister.
“Microsoft is honored to partner with the Ministry of Education in the UAE as we remain committed to socio-economic development and accelerating the evolution of a knowledge-based society”, said Mark East, Senior Education Director. Microsoft EMEA. “We commend the Ministry’s ambitious vision of using technology to improve education and enhance IT skills development that will enable citizens to compete in today’s global economy. Together with the Ministry of Education, we hope to make a positive impact on the education sector in the country by using ICT as a tool to empower students and teachers and transform education.”
Live From Gess 2009
The Learning Age Presents New Challenges, GEF Delegates Told
Dubai UAE, 11th March2009: “The future is already here; it’s just not widely distributed yet.” This was one of the central messages being given to today’s delegates to the 2009 Gulf Education Forum (GEF), organised by Fairs & Exhibitions, and which is being held to coincide with the Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions Exhibition running at Dubai’s Airport Expo Centre until March 12th.
Mark East, Director of Microsoft’s Education Solutions Group,s emphasised the point that the parameters surrounding education were changing rapidly across a new world order, and that these would affect everyone. “ China and India both have more gifted students than all the students put together in the UK,” he said, “and the likelihood is that today’s learners will on average have between 10 and 14 different jobs before they reach the age of 38. It’s salutary to reflect that nowadays, fully a half of what technical students learn in their first year at university will already be out of date by the time they complete their third year. We are already living in the past!”
Mark East said that not much had basically changed in education since the 1880s. “The way we use the technology of today is very much the same as what we did over 100 years ago; but if we don’t reform the curriculum and how we use technology to better our teaching methods, we effectively reduce our return on investment. The world is becoming a much smaller place as technological innovations progress, increasing our capabilities, and reducing our costs as we embrace a digital lifestyle.
“The fact is that teachers are unlikely ever to be as technically literate as the kids they teach; but they don’t need to be. Their role is changing to more of a facilitation model. The kids can work out the technology for themselves.”
Doug Brown, an expert consultant for Becta who used to work for the UK’s Ministry of Education, took up the theme, saying that more change would occur in the first 20 years of this century than had happened in the whole of the last 100 years. “In the next century we can expect the equivalent of another 20,000 years of progress at past rates. Already in one generation of school leavers we have seen huge changes in technology. From the advent of Windows 95 to the present collaborative and interactive technologies; from the use of video cassettes to DVDs, iPods and MP3 players; through the widespread use of search engines and social networking sites; the world of today’s children is almost unrecognisable from that of the previous generation. And the challenge is to make it effective.”
Doug Brown continued that ICT spending in schools had increased to the point whereby ten years ago they were looking forward to the prospect of low bandwidth broadband to replace their 56k modems whilst nowadays a minimum 2MB broadband was becoming universal. “But what studies show is that it’s not the use of technology in its own right that improves the learning environment but the quality of teaching that has to go hand in hand with the technology available. The challenge is in making it effective. There is a strategic shift to demand side learning; but simply having more computers in the classroom does not make for better results.”
Doug Brown also pointed out that world population demographics were changing with more people living longer, and this was leading to higher demands for through-life training. At the same time, the world order of base level qualifications was changing dramatically. In the 1990s, the US led the world, whilst now it had slipped to 13th position. Over the same period, Korea – a heavily ‘wired’ society – had risen from 27th to pole position.
“China is now becoming the number one English speaking nation in the world,” he continued. “London has already become the seventh largest French speaking city in the world. And whilst 84 per cent of young people play computer games, only 72 per cent of their teachers do. So shift is happening whether we like it or not.
“We no longer live in the information age, but the learning age. The challenge is getting our heads around this fact and making the learning environment better for future generations,” he concluded.
Live From Gess 2009
Educational Technology Should Always Concentrate on Enhancing The Learning Experience, GESS Delegates Told
Dubai UAE, 10th March2009: The technology which allows students to migrate from being consumers to producers of information, is coming of age, delegates were told at the 2009 Gulf Educational Supplies & Solutions (GESS) Exhibition, organised by Fairs & Exhibitions, and which is running from March 10th – 12th at Dubai’s Airport Expo Centre
Yvonne Biggins, Education Business Development Manager for EMEA Smart Technologies – the first company to create interactive white boards in 1991 – says that with the advent of Internet 2.0, and online applications such as Facebook and YouTube, there is a move towards peer-to-peer learning which is being facilitated by technology already entering schools.
“In the UK,” she says, “interactive white boards can be found in over 70 per cent of classrooms with £45 billion earmarked for the refurbishment and retooling of secondary schools across the country. Now that broadband speeds and internet access is becoming widely available across the world, a revolution in education is being witnessed in the way children interact with their teachers.”
David Fairbairn-Day, Head of Education Market Development at Promethean Limited, says that the last two years especially have witnessed a major shift in the student-teacher relationship. “Students live in a new environment, surrounded by computers, PS3s, DVDs, iPods and a whole raft of other technologies,” he explains. “What this means in practice is that, compared with the learning environment of a few years ago where we used books, libraries and our teachers as a knowledge base, nowadays there are numerous new sources of knowledge available. The challenge therefore is to embrace the new technologies into the learning environment and to realise that it isn’t what you know – it’s knowing where to find the information you need that counts.”
David Fairbairn-Day warns about being turned on to technology for technology’s sake. “Doesn’t it make more sense to learn to use technology in order to aid the teaching process?,” he asks, “as opposed to what I have seen so often in some countries where they are too busy learning the technology simply in its own right. At all times, teachers should surely concentrate on the fundamental question of how technology can enhance learning.
“Whenever I talk to teachers and ministry officials involved in the purchase of classroom technology, I always say to them: invest 70 per cent of your budget on the technology, but lay aside at least 30 per cent of your resources for training and teacher support.”
Live From Gess 2009
WELCOME TO GESS 09
GESS 08 was a huge success with over 4,000 decision makers attending from the private and public sector, representing educational establishements from early years to higher education. Over 70% of last year’s floor space is already reserved, and we have extended the floor plan to accommodate more exhibitors.
We will build on this success for 2009, with a new venue (Airport Expo Centre) new image, new marketing initiatives and revitalised Global Education Forum programme.
In this site you will be able to find everything you need to help you either visit or exhibit at the show. As an exhibitor you can view the floor plans, register your interest in exhibiting, book the extra furniture and floral for your stand, or check out the latest hotel rates.
If you are a visitor then you can register on line – please do not forget to do so, it makes arriving at the show so much easier! Plan your visit, get up to date information on Global Education Forum as they develop, register to attend a conference stream, or simply plan your stay.
The event will develop rapidly as we approach March 09, so please be sure to come back and check for updates. We should have exciting news as key players book, and reveal what they will exhibit, as well as constant forum updates.
If you can not find the exact answer to what you are looking for then please do not hesitate to go to the contact page and either call one of the team, or drop us an email. We are dedicated to bringing the best event to the region, and want to hear from you.
We hope you find the site useful, and we look forward to welcoming you in person to GESS 09.
Sleeping and Eating
If you need a place to stay in Dubai, scroll down for a comprehensive list of recommended hotels and residential apartments – plus an inviting selection of local restaurants and bars.
There is a wide choice of hotels in Dubai ranging from small boutiques to 7 star luxury properties.Hotels in Dubai can be split into ‘beach hotels’ that are mainly grouped along the coast to the south of city and ‘city’ hotels located within a 15 minute journey from Dubai’s International Airport. The larger hotels all offer an airport shuttle bus service.
A cheaper alternative to staying in a hotel is to rent furnished accommodation. This can be done on a daily/weekly/monthly or yearly basis and there are a number of agencies offering this service. The apartments come fully furnished, plus maid service. Additionally there may be sports facilities such as a gym and swimming pool in the building.
Food & Drink
Dubai offers pretty much every type of international cuisine imaginable. Whilst restaurants located in hotels are able to offer alcohol and can be expensive, some of the best places to eat are the small street side stands around town, however these restaurants do not serve alcohol.
Things To See
There’s plenty to do in Dubai and it helps to know what’s on and where.
The shopping Capital of the Middle East!
Prices are competitive in many products from gold to carpets, textiles or designer labels. The key to shopping here is to bargain where possible since prices, especially in the souks, can drop quite substantially. The attractive and often imaginatively designed, modern shopping malls in Dubai are one of the highlights of shopping in Dubai and are generally spacious and fully air conditioned. Most international brands and high street shops can be found in the shopping malls.
Most malls have a food court, which offers a variety of types of cuisine. Some malls also have cinemas.
There are many companies in Dubai offering an exciting variety of city and safari tours. An organised tour can be a great way to discover the UAE. Tours range from a half-day city tour to an overnight safari visiting the desert or mountains and camping in tents. Dubai’s souks are worth a visit for their bustling atmosphere, the eclectic variety of goods and the traditional way of doing business.
Tours & Sightseeing
There are many companies in Dubai offering an exciting variety of city and safari tours. An organised tour can be a great way to discover the UAE. Tours range from a half-day city tour to an overnight safari visiting the desert or mountains and camping in tents. Most trips require a minimum of four people for the tour to run. It is advisable to book three or four days in advance although in some cases less notice is not a problem.
For more information contact the Recommended Travel Agents.
There are numerous activities available to visitors to Dubai including water sports and golf packages.
For more information contact the Recommended Travel Agents.
Dubai has numerous cinemas, cafes, bars, nightclubs and discos to suit all tastes and ages. There are a number of local magazines available from the Newsagents listing details of the above facilities.
If you’re spending time in Dubai, it helps to know some basics about the local culture. We’ve put together some handy tips with regard to business and social hours and the all-important etiquette for tipping and photography.
Dubai’s culture is firmly rooted in the Islamic traditions of Arabia. However Dubai is very tolerant of the customs of its visitors and is relatively liberal when it comes to European dress codes and serving alcohol in hotels.
Among the most highly prized virtues are courtesy and hospitality, visitors are sure to be charmed by the genuine warmth and friendliness of the people.
Islam is the official religion of the UAE, but other religions are respected. Dubai has a variety of Christian churches.
Business Hours & Social Hours
Social hours are very Mediterranean in style – in general, people get up early, often have an afternoon siesta and eat late in the evening. Government offices are open from 07:30 to 14:00hrs Saturday to Wednesday. In the private sector, office hours vary between split shift days or straight shifts.
Although the small shops opening hours are usually based on split shift timings, the big shopping malls now remain open all day from 10:00 – 21:00hrs. Petrol stations are open 24 hours. Embassies and consulates open from 08:00 – 13:30hrs. Most close on Thursday and Friday.
Tipping practices are similar to most parts of the world. An increasing number of restaurants include service.
Normal tourist photography is acceptable; it is courteous to ask permission before photographing people especially local women. In general, photographs of government buildings, military installations, ports and airports should not be taken.
To make the most of your time in Dubai, it’s worth knowing a little about the locality. This site gives you some useful information about the language, climate, local time and public holidays.
The official language of the country is Arabic, although English is the official business language. English is widely used and most road and shop signs, restaurant menus, etc are in both languages.
Dubai has a sub-tropical, arid climate. May – October are the warmest months with temperatures reaching the high 40’s and high humidity, the rest of the year temperatures fall any where between the mid 20’s – 30’s.
Rainfall is infrequent falling mainly in the cooler months around November to March.
The UAE is four hours ahead of GMT. There is no summer time saving when clocks are altered.
The Islamic year is called the Hijri and dates are followed by AH – After Hijra. The Hijri calendar is based on lunar months. There are 354 or 355 days in the Hijri year, which is divided into 12 lunar months and each year is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian year.
As some holidays are based on the sighting of the moon and not fixed dates on the Hijri calendar, the dates of Islamic holidays are imprecise, with holidays frequently being confirmed less than 24 hours in advance. Some non-religious holidays are fixed according to the Gregorian calendar.
Before You Leave
Read on to find out everything you need to know about Visa Regulations, Health Requirements and Customs Levies.
Nationals of the following countries will be issued, free of charge, with an entry visa valid for 60 days at the passport control:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Leichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA, Vatican City. Members and all GCC countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, The Sultanate of Oman, The United Arab Emirates
Other nationalities are solely responsible for obtaining visas for themselves, their representatives and invitees. Visas can be arranged through the exhibitor’s hotel, in Dubai provided sufficient time is given for the application to be processed.
The Organisers are not in a position to sponsor visa applications.
The visit visa does not entitle the visitor to take up permanent work in the UAE.
At the time of going to press the United Arab Emirates do not grant visas to Israeli Nationals or to holders of passports containing a visa, valid or expired, for Israel. Exhibitors should check with their Travel Agent.
All Visitors and Exhibitors require a full passport for their visit.
No health certificates are required for entry to the Emirates, except for visitors who have been in cholera or yellow fever infected area. However, it is always wise to check health requirements before departure as restrictions may vary.
Personal effects entering Dubai are not liable to a customs levy. It is forbidden to import drugs and pornographic items.
The importation of alcohol into the United Arab Emirates is only permitted as part of the duty free allowance for personal consumption.
Four items of alcohol per person is the permitted allowance.
Dubai can either refer to one of the seven emirates that constitute United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the eastern Arabian Peninsula, or that emirate’s main city, sometimes called “Dubai city” to distinguish it from the emirate. The modern emirate of Dubai was created with the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. However, written accounts documenting the existence of the city have existed at least 150 years prior to the formation of the UAE. Dubai shares legal, political, military and economic functions with the other emirates within a federal framework, although each emirate has jurisdiction over some functions such as civic law enforcement and provision and upkeep of local facilities. Dubai has the largest population and is the second largest emirate by area, after Abu Dhabi. As of 2007, 800 new residents were setting up home in Dubai every day. With Abu Dhabi, it is one of only two emirates to possess veto power over critical matters of national importance in the UAE. Dubai has been ruled by the Al Maktoum dynasty since 1833. The city’s current ruler, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is also the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE.
Revenues from petroleum and natural gas contribute to less than 3% of Dubai’s US$ 46 billion economy (2006). A majority of the emirate’s revenues are from the Jebel Ali free zone (JAFZ) and, increasingly, from tourism and other service businesses. Dubai has attracted world-wide attention through innovative real estate projects and sports events. However, this increased attention, coinciding with its emergence as a world business hub, has also highlighted human rights issues concerning its largely foreign workforce.
Dubai is the fastest growing city and tourism destination in the World. In the past two decades Dubai has emerged as a regional business hub and trade destination with a massive geographical reach from West Africa across the entire Middle East and through to Central Asia. Dubai is the place to do business in the region. The city itself boasts population growth estimated at more than 30,000 new residents a month and this has contributed to hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in infrastructure and property development. The city is a fascinating place where the modern and traditional stand side by side. Dubai offers some of the worlds best shopping, golf courses, beaches, fantastic hotels and bustling souks all combining to make this one of the world’s most exciting cities.
F&E in Regional B2B Education Initiative
Ministry & Global Associations Back New Futuristic GESS Event
Fairs & Exhibitions (F&E), the Middle East’s trade show pioneer and the name behind some of the region’s most successful industry events including the Dubai Airshow, has launched a major new dual-pronged B2B initiative for the regional education sector ” the Gulf Educational Supplies Show (GESS) and Global Education Forum (GEF) – to be …
Welcome to the Global Education Forum 2009, the only conference for education professionals in the UAE and the GCC states.
The Global Education Forum is a mixture of a main stream plenary conference enriched by a series of master classes and workshops, aimed at bringing teaching solutions to the region. Covering topics such as, the integration of technology in all areas of education – building schools for the future – special education needs including gifted and talented children – brain training – and the latest innovations in education including ‘virtual environments’ .
The Global Education Forum 2009 will offer you the opportunity to hear case histories on new initiatives in teaching, experience best practice working philosophies and networking with suppliers and other educational professionals from around the region.
Book your place on-line
Once the programmes are published you will be able to register for your place here. We strongly recommend that you do, as the sessions were very popular last year, with standing room only in some of the sessions. So do not forget – keep checking, and book your place! We look forward to seeing you at the Global Education Forum from the 10th -12th of March 2009 (add these dates to your diary)
GESS was a very successful event for Promethean enabling us to meet visitors from across the Middle East and Asia. GESS also provided us with an opportunity to raise awareness of our student response system, Activote within the market. The quality of visitors was very high with decision makers from across the education sector in attendance. It was a well run show which was well attended and promoted helping Promethean to grow in the Middle East education market. This is why we will be in attendance at GESS 2009.
International Marketing Executive, Promethean
As a result of this show we are now expanding our business within the Middle East for the very first time and we will definitely exhibit next year and have reserved a stand four times the size!
PR and Marketing Manager, Kit for KIds
The show was very successful in all meanings. Many suppliers from all over the world have attended GESS in different educational fields from primary school to university level. It was an opportunity for us to learn about new products and sign agreements with new suppliers.
Manager Educational Division, Al Mazroui, UAE
The influence and support of the Ministry of Education was clearly shown by the minister himself visiting the exhibition twice and the huge numbers of visitors of teachers and principals from the government�s schools sectors. The different organized seminars have added great educational value for this exhibition and played an important role to motivate the teachers for attending the conference programme.
Manager Educational Division, Al Mazroui, UAE
We hope the next GESS in 2009 will keep the same level of attendance from both a customers and suppliers side but also to improve the private sector as well.
Manager Educational Division, Al Mazroui, UAE
Who visits GESS?
– Head Teachers/Principals/Heads of Departments
– Educational Consultants/Administrators/Commercial Managers
– ICT Specialists
Who supports GESS?
GESS enjoys the generous support from the most influential establishments, underlining the importance of the event to both the region, and to the global educational equipment supplies sector..
What is the global education forum?
The inclusion of the Global Education Forum moves GESS yet further into the centre of the education process. The Global Education Forum is targeted at the whole education market from early years through to Higher/University education. The conference addresses the most current key issues and by introducing the global perspective, contrasting and comparing this with local issues provides the most appropriate solutions. The comprehensive level of content will attract the highest quality speakers who, along side ministerial speakers will ensure a high quality platform that truly reflects the Middle East market and the challenges it presents. The quality of both the program and the speakers, coupled with a comprehensive marketing campaign will ensure a high level of quality delegates from around the region. With the personal and professional support of Dr Hanif, Minister of Education, and the support of the UAE Ministry of Education, the conference guarantees the most comprehensive reach to education professionals within the region. It is the highest profile event in the UAE Education Ministry’s event calendar and as such is the ‘must attend’ event for education professionals. Close cooperation from KHDA and the other Education Zones/Authorities ensures that the delegate capture is comprehensive.