Deliberations on viable solutions to the problems of inclusive education in the Asian Region and the Arab World comprised the central tenet of the International Forum on Asia-Arab Region Collaboration on Inclusion in Education, held on November 29, 2021, as a part of the ITU-UNESCO Regional Digital Integration Week.
The event was dedicated to inclusive education and focused on achieving equal opportunities for everyone regardless of gender, ethnic and social origin, language, religion, nationality, socio-economic status, abilities, etc. Despite the fact that numerous organizations continue to work actively towards genuine inclusion in education around the world, problems in ensuring equal access to quality education remain. These issues are particularly relevant for educational systems in the Asian countries and the Arab region, whose experience laid the groundwork for the Forum’s discussions.
During the event, the experts considered the following key issues:
- What has been achieved in promoting inclusion in education?
- What are the current challenges of ensuring inclusive education that remain unresolved?
- How can international cooperation contribute to the development of inclusive education in the future?
The speakers from different countries and organizations shared the achieved results in ensuring inclusion in education and digital transformation through international cooperation. In particular, the Director of SLIBNU-ALECSO Smart Education Joint Lab, Mr. Ahmed Tlili, shared an example of what the laboratory has achieved in inclusive education and digital transformation in the Arab region. Dr. Lili Zhang, Professor and Deputy Director of the Research Center for Minority Education and Multi-Cultural Studies at Beijing Normal University, spoke about the successful implementation and benefits of the Standards of Inclusiveness and Equality of Child-Friendly Schools (CFS) project in China, and she presented how children from disadvantaged groups had benefitted from the CFS project.
Ms. Xiaohan Bi, Head of West Asia and Africa Department, UNESCO Center for Higher Education Innovation (ICHEI), shared the experience of the International Institute of Online Education (IIOE) on active participation in enhancing the inclusion of higher education in Arab countries. The presentation of Ms. Natalia Amelina, Senior National Project Officer in Education from UNESCO IITE, was dedicated to open and distance learning projects implemented by IITE in Africa. Dr. John Collick, Director of Education Strategy for NetDragon (China), gave a speech on the company’s contribution to more accessible and equitable education in Egypt.
The specialists from Huawei, ClassIn and Squirrel AI also took an active part in the discussion. The experts shared their views and ideas on the importance and potential of innovative technologies for enhancing inclusion in education.