On 17 January 2019, UNESCO Beirut in cooperation with the Arab Thought Foundation (ATF), launched the second phase of “Tarbiyah21 Platform - Partnership for Educational Development” initiative, an Arab online platform that aims to enhance the skills of teachers and improve the quality of teaching and learning in the Arab region, through electronic publishing, reinforcement of teaching methods and the promotion latest educational practices.
Speaking at the launch event held at the premises of UNESCO Beirut, UNESCO Beirut’s director, Dr Hamed Al Hammami, highlighted that UNESCO's vision for education is grounded in the changes that the world in general and the Arab region in particular are undergoing, including the spread of new technologies of information and communication and their positive impact in terms of enhancing learning opportunities, and the rise of new practices of teaching and learning. Dr Al Hammami stressed the need to update teaching content and delivery methods, and to shift from a focus on ensuring access to education for all to a focus on achieving quality in education, and from a vision of education as a human right to a vision of education as a common good. Al Hammami also pointed out that “Tarbiyah 21 Platform”, which was developed in partnership with ATF, focuses on new teaching practices and targets teachers as well as decision makers in the field of education. He emphasized the success of the initiative in previous years in terms of disseminating good practices and new publications in education, particularly the content elaborated by UNESCO and other international organizations, to a large number of educators at low cost.
In his speech, ATF Director General Professor Henri Al Awit stated that “Tarbiyah 21 Platform” embodies the principles of cooperation and partnership, and demonstrates the crucial role of technology in the development of the education sector. Al Awit added that the Foundation gives paramount importance to the cooperation with UNESCO, given their collective mission and goals, and they both view education as a top priority with the objective of promoting sustainable educational development. He pointed out that the participatory nature of the project allows for building bridges and promoting networking among all educational stakeholders in the Arab world, including policymakers, educational planners, administrators and school principals and educators. Professor Al Awit considered that the most important aspect of this project is putting communication technology at the service of education, through building a platform to enrich the Arab digital educational content, promote the exchange of knowledge and expertise, and foster an interactive dialogue among educational stakeholders.
The event included live testimonials by representatives from several Arab countries on the achievements of the project, and a panel discussion on lessons learnt and proposals for the way forward. The event concluded with the signing of an agreement on the second phase of the partnership initiative.