Education, a shield against extremism, king Mohammed
Regional, Education, 3/13/2002
Education is a shield against extremism, a tool to promote democracy and solidarity and a steering engine towards world peace, said King Mohammed VI Wednesday in a message to a conference on Higher Education in the Arab World-Preparing for the Global Marketplace, held in Marrakesh March 13-15.
"Education provides the very basis for progress. It is a shield against extremism in all its manifestations. Likewise, education is the cornerstone for building social cohesion and creating equal opportunities. It must therefore continue to be a guide steering the world towards tolerance and peace in the future," said King Mohammed VI in the message that was read out on his behalf by royal advisor, Abdelaziz Meziane Belfkih.
The sovereign pointed out that talking about education is tantamount to talking about the future and about development, about culture and knowledge, about the children of today, the citizens of tomorrow, stressing the need "to turn universities into effective centers providing and disseminating knowledge and culture, fostering learning and instilling values that are likely to help the citizens of different countries, today and even more so tomorrow, to become the citizens of the one and the same world."
"The notion of citizenship," the sovereign went on, "will not, in the future, be determined solely on the basis of belonging to a territory, or a community or a given identity, but it will rather depend on the commitment to a set of values which will provide the pillars on which to build the world of tomorrow. These values include democracy, solidarity and tolerance."
After he surveyed efforts made by Morocco to initiate large-scale reforms in the fields of education and training, to eradicate illiteracy and to provide a sound basic education for all children in Morocco, King Mohammed VI called on Arab countries to work to correct the image of Islam as perceived by the "others," and to highlight Islam's civilizational dimension as well as its message which is based on peace.
"In this context, it is incumbent upon Arab universities, to make an additional effort to open up to the other universities in the world, and to enhance their presence at the international level, by intensifying their international cooperation activities and availing themselves of their relations, to convey the shining image of Arab culture, away from all stereotypes and cliches that are disseminated by some media," the sovereign said.
He added that new Information and Communication Technology has gained ground in the area of education and is likely to broaden the frontiers of knowledge and scientific research, but that this should not make it less important to think about the human dimension in the educational process, and about the need to achieve the required balance between technology and the necessity for the act of learning to preserve its specific human character.
The Conference, bringing together participants from the Middle East, North America, and other areas, is to assess the impact of globalization on education and training, and to explore the use of technology and other methodologies for human resource development in the region.
It will explore a set of issues including preparing workers for the global economy, corporate innovations in training, funding education and training for the private sector, the role of private education, international and regional partnerships, institutional challenges to educational change, tools for educational and professional assessment, technical and vocational training, and certification, best practices in skills training from the Arab world, distance learning applications, training for computer and internet professionals, the use of technology in educational resources, balancing practical training and cultural education.
Queen Rania of Jordan attended the meeting's opening session. United Nations under secretary general, Ms. Rima Khalaf Hunaidi was also present at the session.
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