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World Bank Initiative Trains Students on Cloud Tech and Soft Skills

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The World Bank, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), and the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE), hosted the Skills for The Future Initiative (SFI) at Zayed University in Dubai on June 19th and 20th. The program introduced the next generation of technology leaders in the United Arab Emirates to the skills needed to prepare them for the jobs of the future.  The two-day training boot camp attracted students from 12 institutes who learned about the changing nature of work and received introductory training on cloud technology leveraging AWS Educate resources.

Cloud skills today are in high demand across all industries and have been identified by LinkedIn as the top skill that companies need most, for four years in a row. The students were introduced to the fundamentals of AWS technology with the AWS Technical Essentials Training course, which also covered key AWS services and how to navigate them. The course is part of AWS Educate, Amazon’s global initiative to provide students and educators with the resources needed to accelerate cloud-related learning, and was delivered by AWS Training and Certification experts.

A segment on soft skills training was delivered by Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE), which is based on the Al Ghurair Young Thinkers Program, an online digital platform that prepares Emirati and Arab youth with the skills and knowledge needed to make successful transitions from high school to university and university to the workplace. Launched in October 2018, over 10,000 Emirati youth have registered on the platform and are benefitting from more than 20 bespoke future skills online courses.                                                        

“Investments in education and learning are critical to ensuring that the youth of MENA are prepared to tackle and fully leverage the digital transformation of the workplace to their advantage,” said Andreas Blom, World Bank Education Manager for the Middle East and North Africa Region. “The UAE is among the early adopters of the World Bank Human Capital Project, and we are committed to helping harness the skills of the country’s youth to prepare them for future employment.”

Zubin Chagpar, Head of MEA, Public Sector at AWS, said, “AWS is very excited to be providing young students in the UAE with cloud technology training through AWS Educate, to help prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century. Cloud computing and digital skills are growing in demand and are key to driving innovation and economic growth. AWS will continue to invest in workforce development in the UAE and the Middle East through education and training programs to further support the growth of the region’s cloud adoption.”

His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, noted, “AGFE is proud to support Emirati and Arab youth through the Young Thinkers Program and welcomes the collaboration with the World Bank and Zayed University on the Skills for The Future Initiative. Collaboration between sectors is key to preparing young Emiratis for the skills demanded by the future world of work.”

Rutish Krishna, a student from JSS International School Dubai who attended the training said he liked how AWS was able to explain how cloud computing technology actually works. He said, “It was great to see how not only the leading companies of the world, but also smaller companies and start-ups use cloud technology to offer better services to their consumers. From a career perspective, I feel our future depends on this technology especially when it comes to securing jobs.”

Another student, Nida Sakhawat Ali, studying at the Canadian University Dubai said: “Coming from an advertising background, I found the sessions very enlightening. Cloud technology might seem like a complex domain but the experts were very helpful in explaining these concepts and simplifying them for a wider audience. It’s clear that cloud technology is here to stay, and in today’s world it is important to develop the skillsets to take advantage of the tools it has to offer.”

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Education

Canon Partners with the Ministry of Education for Digital Skills Development

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Canon Middle East (CME) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Education as the official strategic partner for skills development in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The partnership delivers on the ambitions of the UAE’s Vision 2021 to develop the talent of youth in the UAE by empowering them to engage new-age digital innovations and prepare them with the skills required for education and employment opportunities of the future.

Her Excellency Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for Care and Activities Sector emphasised that through all of its partnerships, the Ministry of Education seeks to enhance students’ skills across various creative fields, positively impacting their journey in future. To this end, the Ministry focuses to uplift students’ skills and meet their different interests in-line with its goals, academic and skill enhancement plans for the students of the UAE.

Her Excellency also highlighted that the MoU is a result of a long-standing cooperation, as Canon had organised many programmes aiming to enhance students’ skills in photography and digital production and improving their various talents, as the Ministry seeks to promote cooperation with specialised parties in-line with its initiatives for visual arts.

As part of the agreement, Canon hosted a visual photography summer camp this year for 87 students from various schools to further develop their imaging skills and understanding of visual arts. The camp consisted of eight sessions and included video instruction and assignments for each student. The students’ work will be demonstrated through a virtual exhibition in October.

In 2021, Canon will also become the Ministry’s official partner for the National Clubs programme, which is an afterschool digital hub to empower and educate students on various topics including art and culture, health and fitness, STEM, life skills, and linguistics. Visual and creative arts, with an emphasis on photography and videography, are also a key component of the programme, and

Canon will conduct imaging workshops for 100 students aged between 10 and 18 who are interested in photography and filmmaking. The eight-week long course will be delivered online through virtual instruction and training videos and will run across three different levels to cater to the various age groups within the National Clubs programme.

Canon’s imaging workshops fall within Canon’s AKTASHIF programme which is a community-oriented initiative designed to equip young people aged 14 to 24 with the tools and techniques to unleash creative careers. The initiative provides training, mentorship and provides a focal point for “YOUTH” to develop their interests, strengthen their creativity and inculcate in them the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Anurag Agrawal, Managing Director, Canon Middle East and Canon Turkey, said, “Our collaboration with the Ministry spans a number of years and this agreement will build on the work we have done together to spark innovation and inspire students. Youth today are at a major crossroads as their educational and self-development journey is rapidly unravelling and evolving; but they are also increasingly adaptable, eager to get past hurdles, and are innovative in their approach to learning new skills. Through our workshops students will be mentored and trained using new digital technology that is essential for their education today and will prepare them for their professional careers in the future.”

“The  partnership also underlines our commitment to our corporate philosophy, ‘Kyosei,’ meaning living and working together for the common good, and education is one of our key focus areas as an innovation-led, technology company, where we feel we can make a positive difference,” added Agrawal.

The Ministry of Education and Canon have collaborated on a series of successful initiatives which led to the signing of the partnership agreement this year. The initiatives included supporting the Ministry’s Masterpieces programme by providing photography courses, equipment and giveaways for the programme’s winners, and printing the winning imagery to be displayed at the La Perle show.

Last year, Canon launched a competition on Women’s Day within UAE public schools where four female students won pink Selfy printers and a photography master class with a Canon Ambassador. Canon also sponsored the National Science and Technology and Innovation Fair hosted by the Ministry.

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Cool Stuff

SPL Launches ‘Smart Locker’ Service to Give Members Round-the-Clock Access to Books

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The Sharjah Public Library (SPL), an affiliate of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), has launched the ‘Smart Locker’ service that facilitates the 24/7 borrowing of books via the SPL website. The books ordered through the Smart Locker will be reserved for three days and can be collected any time during this period.

Eman Bushulaibi, Director of SPL

This new system is part of the integrated smart services launched by SPL and caters especially to the needs of members who are unable to visit during the opening hours of the library.

The Smart Locker service uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology that allows members to use their Emirates ID or SPL’s membership cards to collect and return books. SPL’s Smart Locker consists of 38 lockers equipped with a touch screen that are connected to SPL’s digital network and CCTVs.

Commenting on the launch of the new service, Eman Bushulaibi, Director of SPL, said: “The Sharjah Public Library is a keen adopter of innovative technologies, which enables us to continually improve its patrons’ user experience. Our Smart Locker service will offer its users an advanced personalised service, allowing members to engage with SPL’s array of offerings in new and improved ways.”

She added: “Globally, cultural entities are devising inventive ways to keep the public engaged with the written word, especially during the ongoing pandemic. With the Smart Locker service, our members can order and pick up books at their convenience in a contactless manner. This new feature furthers the library’s efforts to implement precautionary measures that will keep all our valued customers safe.”

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Education

New ADEK Activity Platform Launched to Allow Kids to Explore, Learn, and Innovate

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With schools out for summer, Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) is urging students to #NeverStopLearning with a new Activity Platform. Serving as the go-to resource for entertainment and extra-curricular activities in the Emirate, the platform has been developed as a new digital playground as parents seek innovative ways to keep their children entertained this summer and beyond. 

Taking into account the needs of children of all ages, ADEK has teamed up with some of the UAE’s leading edutainment vendors to create a platform packed full of enrichment programs, competitions, edutainment exercises, academic support, and physical and wellbeing challenges across four learning pillars: STEM and Innovation; Enrichment; Arts, Culture & Languages; and Physical Education and Wellbeing.

“Student wellbeing and engagement are at the core of our efforts at ADEK. With the current situation fuelling our commitment to ensure there are constant avenues of engagement for everybody within the Abu Dhabi education community, the Activity Platform has been designed as a one-stop resource for students to continue learning, innovating and staying active,” said H.E. Amer Al Hammadi, Undersecretary of Undersecretary of the Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK).

“The options available are fun and engaging, taking students away from pure academics and filling their time with meaningful activities. There are also ample opportunities for students to connect with their peers in a number of the challenges requiring team collaboration.”

SPOTLIGHT ON STEM
In line with ADEK’s mission to help shape a future-ready workforce through education, the STEM & Innovation stream on the Activity Platform is full of experiences for 21st century learners. Whether embarking on a journey through coding by learning the basics, taking their interest in robotics to the next level through a series of challenges, or seeking safe and fun science and engineering experiments at home, the STEM & Innovation pillar encourages critical thinking in fun ways.

AN EYE FOR ARTS AND CULTURE 
Arts, Language and Culture are embraced with access to some of the capital’s most iconic attractions. Experiences are augmented with hands-on creative activities which add three-dimensional learning to a digital discovery. Children can take time-out to read, reflect and explore ideas in more depth, with access to extensive digital libraries and storytelling experiences. Additionally, language skills can be honed with a range of courses for native and non-native English and Arabic speakers. The Arts, Language and Culture stream also includes music tutorials and poetry.

ENRICHING EDUCATION JOURNEYS
The platform also caters to students plotting their first steps towards higher education, with a range of webinars and university prep talks ensuring they are ready for the big leap into university. There is also a generous offering of admission preparation courses, including IELTS to SATS revisions, specialist subject tutoring and couching sessions for candidate interviews. Younger students can revise or refresh core subjects ensuring they are prepped for the coming academic year.

KEEP ON MOVING
For energetic students eager to keep moving, the platform’s Physical Education and Wellbeing stream features a whole host of challenges, from sports contests, to cooking competitions and physical activities children can do around the home or garden.

To register for the Activity Platform, visit activityplatform.ae

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