Interview with Sahar Al Marzouki

1.  How has COVID 19 changed the future of the education sector? What has been the biggest challenge for this sector in these times of crisis?

COVID 19 has benefited the education sector in many ways by opening up opportunities for new learning ways. Even when we return to the classrooms, educational technology and online learning will continue to be integrated into our school systems much more than it was before. The biggest challenge for the sector has been teacher training. Many educators were not exposed to much technology before and were forced to make a quick transition.

How has technology changed operations for all aspects of the education industry?

Accessibility and flexibility of communication. For example, students can easily message teachers or classmates through technology instead of waiting for the next class period. Educational technology has enabled teachers and administrators an easy direct line of daily communication with parents, and parents can now monitor their students’ day-to-day progress and school life. Technology has also allowed administrators to monitor classrooms to ensure teaching quality and offer assistance where needed. Furthermore, technology has greatly assisted in the admissions procedures, enabling online registrations, remote entrance exams,
and Ministry tracking systems, which all promote efficiency and quality in the education system.

2. Which area of the education sector do you think will witness the maximum use of emerging technology in the next five years?

Technology previously has played a larger role in higher education – offering distance degree and training programs. With the present pandemic situation, the doors to online learning for everyone has opened, and we will see a lot of technological advances and applications for primary and secondary schools. Teachers and administrators see the many benefits of technology in the classroom, such as a more active synthesis of learning materials and more flexibility for learners. Both teachers and administrators should become more comfortable with technology, integrate it into our education system, and obtain such an important tool’s advantages.

3. The present COVID 19 crisis imposes immense setback for teachers to impart knowledge. How do you think their concerns and well-being are to be addressed?

It is vital to ensure a continuous conversation between teachers and administrators through informal chat groups, immediately address any problems or concerns, and listen to the teachers’ suggestions as they work in real-time/real-world situations. It is crucial that the administrators support their teachers with proper training, listen to their concerns, and make them central to developing and refining strategies. The presence of a “we’re in this all together” attitude instead of teachers commanded to implement admin decisions they may not be comfortable with goes a long way.

4. How do you think attendees will benefit from Saudi Education Technology Summit?

Through the Saudi Technology Summit, we will all benefit by sharing our experiences, ideas, and solutions to KSA’s unique situation. This way, we will develop coordinated strategies and policies and effective response across all education sectors in the Kingdom

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