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Abu-Ghazaleh Highlights Online Education at UAE's Higher Education Leadership Forum

18-Nov-2013 | Source : AG-IP News | Visits : 8679
Special to ag-IP-news Agency

DUBAI - Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the first MENA Higher Education Leadership Forum is held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Dubai under the theme ‘Becoming a World Class University in a Modern Context: Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies Forward’.

In his keynote speech, HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, president of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh University (TAGI-UNI) tackled education as a fundamental human right saying: "Education is a very powerful tool that can totally transform nations and propel them into economic prosperity. We can see many examples around us such as the thriving knowledge based economies of the World which are testament to this.While education is certainly a basic human right, access to and the quality of education remain to be two continuing challenges to educators globally."

"In 2011, the United Nations proclaimed that access to the Internet is a basic human right. As the UN Global Alliance for ICT Development chair, I fought for this declaration and contributed to its drafting.  I believe that by using the human right standard we can proclaim the same for higher education. The capacity to make higher education accessible to every person on this planet exists. The technology to do so also exists. The human will must match that potential. I am now calling for a human rights declaration on elite education for all," he added.

Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh continued saying: "We have a challenge to reach and educate those who cannot travel to obtain higher education be it due to monetary constraints, travel visa restrictions, or the remoteness of millions of people living in sub-Saharan Africa and other remote parts of the World.  If education is going to truly stand up as a human right, it needs to be of a world-class, caliber, and available to all in an equal manner."

"In the digital age that we live in now students and educators are no longer confined to the walls of a traditional classroom. In fact, such walls are gradually being broken down, or are eroding away, due to their failure at educating a growing population. Traditional teaching approaches have become ineffective at educating the masses. The UNESCO Institute of Statistics predicts that by 2015, the Arab world will be 300,000 teachers short; second only to Sub-Saharan Africa, which will be 1.2 million teachers short," he pointed out.

According to Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh, "Universities of the future need to be border-less, not bound by a physical campus and need to move away from acting as hoarders of real estate. They need to be technology based and have technical trainers to teach students how best to use the various technologies to their maximum."

In addition to Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh, the two-day Forum will host more than 25 distinguished speakers and panelists including: Prof. Jan Sadlak, President of the IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence, France; Dr. Bruce Chaloux, Executive Director & CEO, Sloan Consortium, USA; Gard Titlestad, Secretary General of ICDE, Norway among others.

Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh introduced TAGI-UNI saying: "Until now, access to elite, world-class education has remained exclusive and unaffordable for the majority of students around the globe. For the first time in history we are in a position to do something about it.  Access to world-class education is an inevitability whose time has come.As a life-long learner myself, I took it as duty to fill this need.  I established a concept which encompasses all the characteristics a world-class University should have, called Talal Abu- Ghazaleh University (TAGI-UNI -http://www.tagiuni.com(."

"TAGI-UNI is a pioneering alliance, bringing together the best institutions globally, under one umbrella. Acting as a gateway to online education, TAGI-UNI ensures that only the highest quality online programs are offered to its students from reputable international universities and training institutes. This eases the burden on students to find a reputable online program, supports them in registering with a world-class institution, and provides them with the assurance that they will be backed throughout the duration of their studies by the reputation of the TAGI-UNI mother company, the Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization," he added.

According to Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh, the first university to join the alliance was Canisius College, the premier private university in Western New York.

"I should also add that the latest university we partnered with is the University of Scranton in Northeast Pennsylvania.  Both universities offer high quality accredited programs, as do all the other universities that have partnered with TAGIUNI," he said.

The Forum brought together regional and international leaders of higher education including Presidents, Rectors, Chancellors, Vice Chancellors and provosts of universities and colleges, as well as higher education decision and policymakers from over 30 countries around the world.

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