UAE schools need upskilled teachers and e-learning security, education minister says

Hussain Al Hammadi said it was 'critical' that teachers can cope with change and are re-skilled for the future

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates-  Hassan Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education at the briefing on corona virus at the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.   Leslie Pableo for The National
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Schools need "upskilled" teachers capable of preparing pupils for a world of digital skills and artificial intelligence, the country's education minister said.

Hussain Al Hammadi also warned the digital transformation of classes during the pandemic meant we must schools are "E-safe" for pupils.

The country's most senior education official made the comments in an article for The National this weekend.

He said the education sector had proven it could be light on its feet, delivering an education in the most trying of times.

It is critical to make sure that teachers can cope with any changes quite rapidly

But he also warned there was a need to ensure pupils were prepared for a demanding digital future.

"AI is fundamentally and systemically changing the quality and quantity of jobs; hence, the demand of skills is drastically shifting," he wrote.

"Skills need to be closely related to economic growth and individual well-being."

Mr Al Hammadi said there was a critical need to retrain and reskill teachers for a fast changing education sector where machine learning is disrupting the traditional teaching methods.

He said artificial intelligence has the potential to address some of the biggest challenges in education today.

It will change teaching and learning practices, and make education accessible and inclusive but the key is to make that learning environment safe for pupils, teachers and parents.

"We have been keen on building up the capacity to reskill teachers for the future," said Mr Al Hammadi.

"During the Covid-19 pandemic we managed to train all teachers in the span of weeks to equip them to the new reality of remote learning.

"We will continue with a similar spirit and pace up to equip teachers with the digital skills to use artificial intelligence effectively."

The minister said the UAE had been working on digitally transforming education and building a supportive infrastructure. Many schools currently have blended learning models, with pupils learning in class and at home over Zoom lessons.