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UAE signs memorandum of understanding to expand digital schools initiative in sub-Saharan Africa

Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan Al NahyanMinister of State, and Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Digital School, witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Permanent Mission of the UAE during the United Nations General Assembly.

The MoU, which was signed by Dr. Waleed Al Ali, Secretary General of the Digital School, which is part of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives group, and Ute Klamert, Deputy Executive Director of Partnerships and Advocacy of the Global Program Food, to expand the reach of The Digital School’s current activities, enhance partnerships and reach rural communities and students across sub-Saharan Africa.

Also witnessing the signing were Ester-Anna Nghipondoka, Minister of Education, Arts and Culture of Namibia, and Estherine Lisinge-Fotabong, Director of Program Implementation and Coordination at the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency.

Sheikh Shakhboot saying,

“Launched by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, the Digital School is presented as a vital initiative that arises as a result of the UAE leaders’ vision to support education based on their firm belief that investment in this field is necessary for the development of societies. This is evident in its well-established track record of improving education on a global scale.

“The UAE has always focused on this vital sector and considers it one of its development priorities, and in partnership with the esteemed organizations of the World Food Program and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), we look forward to see the expansion of the Digital School throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the continent.”

He added,

“The expansion of the Digital School represents our collective efforts towards the growth and development of the continent. The historic relationships of the UAE and African nations serve as testimony to the enduring partnership that unites us, and this continues to guide us into a yet future brighter. “

For its part, Al-Olama saying,

“The future of education depends largely on the use of digital solutions, which are a fundamental factor in empowering students around the world to access quality education,” adding that The Digital School is a pioneering example of digital education development and transition to the application phase, making it accessible to students in various regions of the world, particularly less privileged communities, giving them the opportunity to learn.

He added,

“The launch of the new partnership reflects the humanitarian message of the Digital School and translates its effort to expand the circle of interest and reach more students across the African continent. The objective is to provide students with opportunities to learn and enhance their role “Together with UAE Africa Connect, we aim to light the way to a better future for students in remote areas of sub-Saharan Africa.”

He Regional Director of the World Food Program for Southern Africa, Dr. Menghestab Hailesaying,

“WFP Southern Africa sees this collaboration as an opportunity to help and support national governments to strengthen the school feeding program by adding the digital education component at the primary level in disadvantaged communities in Africa and thus ‘feed the body and mind. ‘The inclusion of the private sector, governments and SADC will ensure the sustainability of this programme.

“This MoU between WFP and The Digital School aims to help member countries improve education and nutrition outcomes in vulnerable communities by combining school meals with digital education in a region with very high youth unemployment.”

The MoU aims to provide educational opportunities to vulnerable students in several African countries and, by expanding the Digital School activity, seeks to reach remote areas. It aims to provide high-quality digital and hybrid education, powered by digital technologies and aligned with national standards, offering strategic advice to help form a national strategy for digital education and facilitating access to a global network of partners, teachers and digital educators. , while supporting the development of educational content.

Additionally, it offers professional development programs for digital educators in collaboration with Arizona State University.

To date, the Digital School has successfully trained 1,500 educators and recruited 60,000 students in a total of eight countries, including two in Africa. This highlights the UAE’s unwavering commitment to education and highlights its leading role as a global hub for knowledge transfer.

Furthermore, the Southern African Development Community, World Food Program and The digital school announced a collaboration to convene the SADC Digital Education High Level Meeting from November 27 – 29, 2023 in Cape Town to develop a digital education roadmap for southern Africa. A series of digital education projects were also announced, aiming to expand the network of partners, including those from the private sector and telecommunications companies, heralding a new era of collaboration and innovation in digital education.

As part of the expansion of Digital School, UAE Africa Connect will now become a sponsor of the Digital School and will provide support to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiative to further enhance the school’s efforts across the African continent. These partnerships reflect the platform’s commitment to closing educational gaps in sub-Saharan African countries to achieve a future where digital tools support the pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence.

News source: Emirates News Agency

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