Tunisian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Olfa Benouda Sioud mulls possibility of holding Tunisian-Qatari forum for higher education and scientific researches
Tunisian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Olfa Benouda Sioud has affirmed her country’s desire to develop co-operation and partnership with Qatar in the fields of education and scientific research, considering the capabilities they have and the common visions, approaches and interests they share in this regard.
In an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency, Olfa Sioud said Qatar and Tunisia share common interest and visions in education as well as scientific, cultural and cognitive research, which come within the framework of a comprehensive vision based on investing in people as they do not only constitute the base of development, but its axis and goal at the same time.
She indicated that her country is willing to invest in this joint denominator to build a solid partnership between the two countries in the fields of education and research.
She also affirmed the two countries are considered models in the fields of education and scientific research, and that with their capabilities and experiences, they are capable of creating transformation in the educational systems in the Arab region, through building and enhancing partnerships in this regard.
“We have great potential as well as a common orientation, which is what we came to realise during discussions, and we can build a distinct education system that benefits all countries in the region,” she said.
The minister expressed her appreciation for Qatar’s continued support for Tunisia in various fields and conditions, emphasising the distinguished relations that link the two countries, and expressing her pride for this joint co-operation and the possibility of building a distinct experience in various fields.
On her visit to Qatar, she explained that she visited a number of the country’s educational institutions and held fruitful meetings with several ranking officials, which focused on the importance of enhancing co-operation between the two countries in the fields of education, scientific research, academic and student exchange and teaching faculty.
She discussed the possibility of holding a Tunisian-Qatari forum for higher education and scientific research that can bring researchers and scientists together as a platform for continuous communication and exchange of experiences and knowledge in various fields of education and research, in addition, to the possibility of launching a joint scientific digital library to support research and scientific knowledge within the framework of a vision for co-operation that includes a number of joint initiatives.
In this context, she praised Qatar’s experience in the field of launching international education forums, which distinguished Qatar’s presence in the education field.
She also hailed Qatar National Library’s (QNL) uniqueness, considering it highly impressive, and Qatar praiseworthy and deserving of recognition for the remarkable cultural achievement.
The minister praised the amazing development in the education system in Qatar, which she felt is deserving of its advanced Arab and international position in the quality of education.
She praised Qatar’s openness to international universities and its hosting of a number of prestigious universities, adding that this strengthens partnerships, enriches experiences, and develops knowledge and cultural exchange, which establishes global knowledge values that enhance acquaintance, global partnership and cultural and civilisational exchange.
She added that Tunisia has a similar approach to be the gateway to Africa towards a distinguished international education, and a destination for students on the African continent to obtain a qualitative education in the field of postgraduate studies, qualification and training in the fields of scientific research.
The minister also noted Qatar’s interest and great focus on scientific research, development and innovation. She pointed out that Qatar has reached high levels in the research results published today in major journals and specialised scientific periodicals, according to the global ranking of university and research institutions, noting that these are normal results of the investment that Qatar started years ago.
The Tunisian minister affirmed that the scientific research system in Qatar will have a great impact in the future on the economic side of Qatar, which has distinguished investments in the fields of knowledge, and has a strategy and smart approach towards a knowledge-based economy based on modern, open and balanced technologies.
She said during her visit to Qatar, she discovered distinguished research centres with a global reputation and suggested exchanging experiences and joint work in the fields of scientific research, especially since the two countries have common vision and approaches in these fields, and possess qualified human resources. She pointed out that they face similar challenges in the fields of water, environment, energy, health, artificial intelligence and other priority areas and added that Tunisia is really proud of the achievements that government is making in this brotherly country and there is a desire to work together.
It is important for the two countries to finance and encourage Tunisian-Qatari joint research teams in scientific fields of interest to both sides, she explained, adding that this would enhance the exchange of experiences and knowledge, as well as the optimal utilisation of resources in joint projects.
She said her country has scientific expertise and competencies, according to which it became a partner of the European Union in the Horizon Europe 2020 programme, stressing that this is an indication of the progress of research in Tunisia, and its scientific and human potential.
Regarding the Qatari initiatives to support education in the world, she said that Qatar’s support for the education system in Qatar and other countries was a strategic choice, and Qatar chose to invest in people, whether at home or abroad. She hailed Qatar on this global approach and its keenness to share its experiences with other countries as well as its efforts to support countries in need in different regions of the world.
On the Covid-19 pandemic, she pointed out that it prompted countries to make a comprehensive evaluation of the education system, scientific research and services of all kinds, as she revealed the need to invest in infrastructure, and the importance of building a knowledge-based economy and contemporary technologies that do not exclude any area of life.
In this context, she was briefed on Qatar’s distinguished experience in distance education and its plans in the context of facing the Covid-19 crisis and its success in facing the repercussions, adding they had exchanged views on this level and there are many common trends in this field.
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