By Joseph Varghese
Education should provide anticipatory answers to the questions of life, asserted Qatar Foundation (QF) chairperson HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser yesterday. She was addressing the delegates of World Innovation Summit for Education (Wise) in Doha.
The fifth edition of Wise got underway at the Qatar National Convention Centre with the theme “Reinventing Education for Life”. Around 1,200 delegates from more than 100 countries are participating in the three-day event.
During the opening ceremony, Wise chairman HE Dr Sheikh Abdulla bin Ali al-Thani announced the winner of Wise Prize for Education 2013. The winner was Vicky Colbert of Colombia, founder and director of Fundación Escuela Nueva. The Wise Prize comprises of $500,000 and a gold medal. The prize was presented by HH Sheikha Moza.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Sheikha Moza said that Wise had a momentum that came with a conference of international stature and status and of a global convention.
“Indeed, Wise is now a movement that is sustainably embedding innovation into education.”
Sheikha Moza commented that the theme of Wise for this year could truly inspire everyone. “The more education thrives, the more prosperous life becomes. The more it languishes, the more life fades. There is nothing more beneficial to life than education and nothing matches
its ability to influence and change.”
She raised the necessity of linking education to life. “What benefit would education have, if not linked to life - reflecting its requirements and exploring the necessities of its development? Should we let the emerging questions of life precede the answers of education?” she asked.
“In my view, education should provide anticipatory answers to the questions of life,” she said.
Sheikha Moza asserted that it was not acceptable that education lagged behind the conditions of life. “Our hope goes beyond making education synchronise with life. Our longing is to make education anticipate life, instil its approaches in the horizons of the future and pave the way to address the constantly emerging challenges.”
She said: “To embed innovation in education, to promote education as an essential environment, to produce the elements of innovation, to make education precede life, or at least make the two head, side by side, towards the future to build all of this: we are convening at Wise.”
Dr Abdulla al-Thani said that education was central to Qatar’s Vision. Quoting the speech of Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at the recent UN General Assembly, he said: “Education has been and will remain one of the priorities of our country’s national policies. All of the activities of our foundation are for nurturing the capacities of our people to build a knowledge-based society.”
He added that Wise would go ahead with all the projects in the course of months and years ahead to make education a reality for all the people.
Former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard will address the gathering in a special session this afternoon.