Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, said that the HBMSU is the first model of the 10X initiative, a vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The HBMSU model, when formed in 2002 was 10 years ahead of its time, Dr. Al Awar noted and added that the university is now set to offer another model of the 10X initiative to maintain its leadership ahead of another 10 years, which will put the university at the forefront of higher education in the world. The statement was made during his participation as a guest speaker at the recently concluded ‘7th QS-Maple Conference: The Future of Higher Education in the Middle East and Africa’ held at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The conference was attended by academic experts and chancellors of universities from 40 countries, representing 150 leading academic and educational institutions and governmental entities, from across the globe.
Dr. Al Awar said that under the leadership of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and the President of the University, the University remains determined to maintain its 10-year lead among educational institutions. He explained that this will be achieved through the smart education model, which the university relies on to provide outstanding education to all members of society. He further said that the University will continue to strengthen the technology-based education system and the opportunity to lead the process of transforming education into a modern integrated system that can help fulfil the aspirations of learners and keep pace with technological innovations in line with 21st-Century needs.
Titled ‘Education for All: Smart Education Shaping the Future,’ Dr. Al Awar’s presentation highlighted the learning philosophy in the new era where creativity and innovation are the key driving forces for creating a safe and sustainable future for present and future generations. He pointed out the importance of the transformation of higher education through the adoption of smart learning. The Chancellor stated that it helps in keeping abreast with development so that the role of the learners and the academic institutions can be restructured, with the former transformed from just being a knowledge receiver and adaptor to a knowledge creator and the latter acting as an environment conducive to higher-order thinking skills and deeper lifelong learning. He emphasized the need for creating a brand new educational environment so that the university can be a center for enriching knowledge, building intellectual capabilities, and developing analytical skills that are based on a lifelong learning approach.
The Chancellor demonstrated the fundamental pillars for enhancing the values of the lifelong learning approach which he explained are based on transparency and flexibility as well as a contextualized model developed to help learners of all ages gain knowledge and create an impact on society. Furthermore, he remarked that the smart learning model epitomizes the core of the lifelong learning approach and serves as the platform for reshaping the future of learning and education based on smart learning, innovation and quality. Dr. Al Awar also cited his book titled ‘Quality and the Future of Higher Education’ to demonstrate the smart learning pillars such as gaining knowledge, utilizing social media, and the inclusivity of application. He added that all these would enhance the efficiency of smart learning in optimizing the role of learners through increased flexibility and agility during the learning process, in addition to widening the source of knowledge and facilitating communication for achieving the goals.
“We are privileged to join the QS-Maple Conference and showcase the example of HBMSU as a success story within a very short time to provide the best educational opportunities for future innovators in the Arab World. The University is driven by an aspirational approach that is based on employing creativity, innovation and technology to better guarantee optimum investment in the innovative capabilities and talents of youths who are considered the real fortune and backbone of the future,” added. Dr. Al Awar.
A presentation was delivered on the academic programs, virtual learning environments and interactive multimedia used by HBMSU which are considered the nucleus of smart learning and remote learning in the UAE and the Arab World. The presentation primarily provided a one-of-a-kind learning experience that aims to build future generations capable of driving comprehensive development to sustain a knowledge-based economy.
Dr. Al Awar called for further adoption of smart learning and to diligently and progressively intensify joint efforts in foreseeing and shaping the future of learning and education according to the innovative techniques and highest standards of the 21st century. He explained that as the first accredited university in the region to adopt smart learning, HBMSU continues to promote and reinforce the pillars of innovation, quality and knowledge as being the core values of the smart learning model. “We are fully convinced that education should be available to people of all ages within an innovative environment based on efficiency and flexibility which prepares the next generations to be more capable of taking on the responsibility of advancement, progress and development,” he concluded.
QS-Maple 2017 served as a platform to discuss the current and emerging challenges that academic institutions are facing at both the regional and international levels. It highlighted the best possible means to improve higher education by addressing relevant topics, including the educational ecosystem, the academic curricula, scientific research, strategic planning, innovation and quality assurance, and academic accreditation. The QS-Maple Higher Educational Conference and Exhibition is held annually under ‘QS Asia,’ the regional company affiliated to QS Quacquarelli Symonds, the well-known British organization specializing in education and overseas study; ranking of the universities; and the issuance of QS World University Rankings.