File pic of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid with his former teacher Muhammed Al Saket Al Falasi
File pic of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid with his former teacher Muhammed Al Saket Al Falasi Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: For World Teachers’ Day (October 5) this year, Expo 2020 Dubai has announced that as part of its legacy plans, the Innovation Gallery within Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion will be renamed to honour Muhammed Al Saket Al Falasi, the man who taught His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, during the 1950s.

A commemorative plaque will be unveiled in the coming weeks, honouring the former educator and the important work of teachers around the world, during a small ceremony.

In keeping with the education theme, the Innovation Gallery will feature a children’s innovations exhibit. Terra itself will be transformed into a Science Museum, following the closing of Expo on March 31, 2022.

School programme

Education has been at the forefront of Expo, with the ‘Expo School Programme’ organising school visits, with easy access for children and teachers. On World Teachers’ Day, these visits were promoted on social media, with students holding boards with writing in English and Arabic, pledging thanks to their teachers.

Alya Al Ali, Vice President - Expo School Programme, said: “Expo 2020 Dubai is a beacon for connecting minds and creating the future, and the celebration of World Teachers’ Day is our way of thanking educators, past and present, from all corners of the globe, for the tremendous work they do in shaping our future.

She added: “We seek to augment the pioneering involvement of inspiring professors such as Mohammed Al Saket, as well as those who came after him, by opening up a wealth of learning opportunities and engaging schools in the journey to Expo 2020 through initiatives aimed at inspiring the next generation to explore, create and learn in a fun and immersive environment.”

Former teacher

Mohammed Al Saket Al Falasi, now 86, taught at Al Ahmadiya School, the first semi-formal school in Dubai. Several years ago, Sheikh Mohammed spoke of his appreciation for his former teacher, who he described as a virtuous person, and his deep respect for others involved in his education.

Ali Muhammad Al Saket Al Falasi, the son of the pioneering teacher, said that seeing his father honoured by Expo in this way filled him with pride. He added: “Honouring teachers feels natural in the UAE, as it has made such great leaps in the education sector in recent decades. This time the honour is particularly special, as it comes from Expo 2020 Dubai –an event we are all so proud to be hosting, and the first of its kind in the region.”

He added: “My father has shared many stories about his time teaching [Sheikh Mohammed], that he was an excellent pupil, and that he saw early on the distinctive qualities that would make him a respected leader, and of great importance in the future.”