VIDEO: UNESCO grants Sharjah membership in Global Network of Learning Cities - GulfToday

VIDEO: UNESCO grants Sharjah membership in Global Network of Learning Cities

Sheikh Sultan greets children at a school.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has granted Sharjah the membership of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) as the culmination of its initiatives and achievements, as it places the educational process at the top of its priorities and as the pivot of comprehensive and sustainable development according to the vision and directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

Sharjah won the GNLC membership — among the nine Arab cities -- for this year, after its continuous success and as a result of meeting all the criteria to join the new learning cities network of UNESCO. The UNESCO decision was based on the nomination by the national committee of the United Nations and the recommendations of an expert jury in light of fulfilling the stipulated conditions.

The membership of the UNESCO network was conferred on Sharjah after the Sharjah Education Council put together an integrated file in which it demonstrated the concerted efforts of educational authorities and institutions in the Emirate of Sharjah to promote comprehensive learning in the education system and revive learning in families and society, in addition to the emirate's social cohesion, economic renaissance, cultural prosperity and sustainable development in all fields.

With this entitlement, Sharjah has joined this month the 79 cities that have so far obtained the membership. It joins the list of 294 cities from around the world in 76 countries on the UNESCO network consolidating its position after its continuous efforts in accordance with its goals aimed at making lifelong learning an integral part of life.

A global initiative

The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) is geared towards knowledge production and exchange, peer learning and capacity building. UNESCO network members benefit from sharing lifelong learning policies and practices with other cities in the network, developing and exchanging knowledge about key challenges and solutions, and participating in training initiatives and in regional and global events.

UNESCO lauded Sharjah as a “culturally and economically vibrant city,” noting the emirate's keenness to provide lifelong learning as it leads to sustainable development, economic competitiveness and innovation.

On its website, UNESCO notes that Sharjah has adopted a lifelong learning strategy by providing quality education, especially early childhood care and education that includes parents and students by improving educational efficiency. It lauds Sharjah's endeavours to meet the learning needs of its culturally diverse city.

Dr. Saeed Musabah Al Kaabi, Chairman of the Sharjah Education Council, congratulated His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, on the new achievement, which has been achieved thanks to HH the Ruler of Sharjah’s relentless efforts and constant support for education through the Sharjah Education Council and other stakeholders.

He stressed the importance of the UNESCO network membership as it constitutes a renewed step by UNESCO towards Sharjah to demonstrate its efforts in the service of education. Sharjah truly deserves this membership as it has developed all strategies aimed at providing continuing education and equal opportunities for society and education for all, he added.

Al Kaabi pointed out that the UNESCO membership recognises Sharjah’s keenness to improve all aspects of the educational process by providing an integrated educational environment and achieving effectiveness with parents and students through listening and involving them in the development process, establishing institutions concerned with education and supporting their roles to serve the education system.

The Emirate has been keen to draw up a unified educational plan and public policy, develop skills based on best practices, and provide equal opportunities in education and services in accordance with standards of quality, efficiency and transparency.

Raising education standards

Sharjah is keen to raise the standards and efficiency of educational system in the Emirate to become the best place for education in the region in view of the cultural diversity that the city embraces and purposefully builds global citizens.

As part of its efforts to join the UNESCO network and the United Nations’ fourth sustainability goal in education and the framework for action on education by 2030, the Emirate launched a number of initiatives to ensure the right of everyone to equal opportunities in education. It focuses on inclusion and equity as they are the basic building blocks for quality and equitable education.

Sharjah has been working to provide access to education on a fair basis amongst the various groups in society in a city that enjoys cultural diversity, and to develop and implement policies and programmes ensuring learning for all groups and ages.

The Sharjah Education Council worked with various educational institutions and stakeholders, including the Sharjah Private Education Authority, the councils of parents of male and female students in the emirate, and schools of all grades in developing policies and regulations to improve access to continuing education.
Education for all

Policies that contribute to facilitating access to education were studied and developed with strategic partners in accordance with initiatives and activities that focus on providing lifelong education for all segments of society, in addition to activating initiatives for students of public and private schools in the Emirate.
Sharjah worked to effectively mobilise its resources in various sectors in order to promote comprehensive learning from basic to higher education.

The Sharjah Education Council also worked to expand the use of modern educational technologies and tools to enhance quality and excellence in learning and a culture of lifelong learning.

It is noteworthy that the UNESCO network of Learning Cities is aimed at promoting inclusive learning and revive learning in families and communities, and to provide effective learning in and for work. It is based on expanding the use of modern educational technologies, enhancing quality in learning, and promoting a culture of learning throughout life.