Dubai: Dubai Cares, part of the Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiative, has announced the launch of the “Educate, Learn and Innovate through an E-platform” (ELITE) programme, set to provide professional development for teachers as well as support 50,000 students across Paraguay with access to quality education.
The programme is a result of the Global Council on Sustainable Development Goal’s (SDG 4 – Quality Education) meeting held in Dubai during the World Government Summit (WGS) in February 2019, where members discussed innovative solutions for current education challenges globally, some of which can be overcome through a teacher training platform. The Government of Paraguay connected with Dubai Cares at the summit to explore potential support towards the country’s education system. The discussions resulted in designing an educational programme, which is in line with the Paraguayan digital learning strategy and the goal that has been set by the Global Council on SDG 4, chaired by Irina Bokova, Former Director General of UNESCO, and co-chaired by Dr Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Cares.
The Dh11,020,500 programme, which took almost a year and a half in negotiating and design, is being implemented in partnership with Paraguay Educa, and aims to foster learning among children from primary and secondary schools and support teachers’ professional development by providing access to an educational cutting-edge portal known as META. The portal is developed and designed to provide resources, methodologies and online communities to support and enhance the teaching-learning process.
With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to government closures of schools, forcing teachers to conduct lessons virtually and students to learn remotely, the META portal is set to play a pivotal role in helping vulnerable learners overcome the barriers raised by social distancing and self-isolation.
Set to run for five years, the programme represents a means for continuous professional development for pre- and in-service teachers with references to the national and international contexts in order for them to improve their pedagogical skills and teaching practices. It also aims to be an important support for the Ministry of Education and Sciences in Paraguay, and the whole educational community with its cutting-edge educational content in a variety of formats, such as: texts, animations, videos, games, workshops, and courses. It is also linked to other portals and Ed-tech organisations of the region and worldwide.
META aims to eliminate linguistic barriers that would prevent an important part of the Paraguayan population from accessing the resources and will intend to offer the same opportunities to all, by making content available in different languages. It also addresses the low school attendance, while providing access to online education or remote learning, which means that learners will access resources and assignments from home. Moreover, the portal is culturally responsive as it takes into consideration the inclusion of vulnerable groups like women, children, adolescents and young people, natives, people with disabilities and migrants. It includes content for the minorities and underserved population, not only as a source of information to be consumed, but as a space to hear their voices through online communities, meet ups and links to governmental institutions and civil society organisations that support those populations.