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Head of Student Services Larna Asfour and International Conferences Officer of Education Division Ali Al Mahmoud during the WISE Leaners’ Voice seminar at Hamad bin Khalifa University Student Center yesterday. Kammutty VP
By Azmat Haroon
Doha: Reluctance on part of developed countries to transfer technological information to the developing countries is a major barrier hindering the development of education in those countries, argued students who are a part the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) Learners’ Voice Programme.
Learners, who are mostly students from the age of 18 to 25, spoke about some of their projects on the sidelines of increasing access to quality and relevant education through innovation during a seminar yesterday.
“There should be a genuine push to transfer the means of production so that students read about stories from their own culture and life,” said Johar Al Thani, a student of culture and politics at Georgetown University.
She argued that if people within a community see that their children are being taught what is relevant to their lives, they will be more willing to send children to schools.
“If you are importing teachers, importing books, you are left in an alien environment and that’s the opposite of what a school should be,” Al Thani said.
Florent D’souza, a graduate of Northwestern University, meanwhile, said that many other issues could also be in place.
“In addition to lack of human and economic capital, there are so many issues such as technological constraints or lack of infrastructure. A lot of developing countries also have governance and political issues which is a barrier to education,” said D’souza, who is working on a project to bring life-long learning into the digital space with a group of students from across the globe. Learners’ Voice is an initiative of the WISE Summit, which aims to give learners an opportunity to voice their opinions on education at WISE. The programme started two years ago with 10 learners from Qatar and 10 others from all around the world.
The programme has now expanded and developed year-long activities for its learners.
“The Learners’ Voice Programme identified different levels of education up until life-long learning, and students select the stage of education and the area of their research on their own,” Lana Asfour, Head of Student Services, said.
“The method of communication among these learners is mainly through the social media and their blogs,” she said, while adding that some learners are also sent on site visits to projects that have won WISE awards such as the Al Jazeera School business partnerships in Casablanca and the self-sufficient school in Paraguay.
Other events some learners have attended also include: Learning Without Frontiers in London, Technology in Higher Education (THE) Conference in Doha, India Youth Forum in New Delhi, World Literacy Summit in Oxford, e-Learning Africa- Cotonou, 6th World Youth Congress in Rio De Janeiro and Youth Assembly at the United Nations in New York.