Feb 7 2022

Jamila Khanji: Khalifa for Education launches, for the first time, a field for Early Learning on an international level.
Mona Al Janahi: Preparing early childhood for a future full of creativity and innovative ideas.
Fatima Al Marzooqi: Great interest by the United Arab Emirates in nurturing and empowering early childhood.

Abu Dhabi: Thursday February 03, 2022

The General Secretariat of the Khalifa Award for Education affirmed that the United Arab Emirates, leadership and nation, has provided through the enactment of legislatures and laws a unique model and a supportive environment for early childhood care to advance talents and innovative skills in this area. This goes hand in hand with the establishment of institutions and organizations that apply innovative programs and practices in early childhood nurturing and development according to best international practices.

This was reflected during the virtual interactive forum organized by the Award under the title “ Early Childhood: A Global Leadership in the United Arab Emirates.” The form was facilitated by: Dr. Mona Al Janahi, Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the United Arab Emirates University and Ms. Fatima Ali Al Marzouqi, Director of the Social Care Home for Children at the Department of Social Services, Sharjah . The forum was moderated by Dr. Jamila Khanji, member of the Executive Committee of the Khalifa Award for Education, in the presence of a number of academic leaders as well as administrative and teaching staff in the UAE.

Dr. Jamila Khanji started the forum by reflecting on the importance of the topic which highlights the commitment of the wise leadership for the early childhood development in the UAE as one of the most important pillars of the next fifty-year agenda. Dr. Al Khanji also pointed out that the Khalifa Award for Education is a pioneer in launching the field of the Khalifa International Award for Early Learning for the first time on the global level, and in two categories: The category of Research and Studies and the category of Programs, Curricula, Teaching Methodologies and Practices. The acceptance of applications to the Award, she added, has commenced on 10 January, 2022.

Dr. Mona Al Janahi expressed: Today, the view of early childhood learning has excelled out of the traditional limited view of preparing children for primary school with the goal of teaching them the alphabets and numbers to preparing them for the future with readiness to deal with life issues. Today, early childhood education, she continued, has directed its focus to the overall development of the child. To achieve this goal, Dr. Al Janahi continued, the educational practices at this important stage have been directed to embody modern educational concepts such as creativity, imagination, flexibility, social and emotional intelligence and play; all of which assure a leading position in designing early education curricula and programs. Once these principles are effectively implemented in early childhood environment, she carried on, they would enable children to enjoy their childhood and encourage them to exploit their utmost potential thus emphasizing their effective role in society. Dr. Al Janahi explained that this is exactly the vision that is adopted by the Department of Education at the United Arab Emirates University and to which enforces commitment to graduate highly qualified teachers who, in turn, prepare a younger generation for a bright future.

Fatima Al Marzooqi, sharing her view on the topic, expressed that childhood is the very first stage of the human development, which extends from birth until the age of eighteen. This stage is of vital importance to the life of a human being, and has generated a major interest in all countries to set policies that ensure healthy development while preserving the psychological and social attributes of children to allow them to become active members of the society. All the monotheistic religions, Dr. Al Marzooqi continued, urge for the care for children and thereby all governments have assured special attention to the family in general and children in particular, through their academic institutions, their laws and their policies to protect children’s rights. The United Arab Emirates, following the same steps, has been keen to assure the care and nurturing of the child since the commencement of the Union and has thus committed to providing children all their rights in terms of education and health care. It is important to mention here that this lead in the United Arab Emirates had specifically started with the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child issued by the United Nations and after which the UAE enacted its own legislation in favor of children and of securing their rights. The official authorities, accordingly, implemented the set legislations and attracted on board specialized human cadres in this regard. The government, Ms. Al Marzooqi reflected, has also encouraged the inclusion of academic disciplines and programs to achieve the goal of qualifying the national cadres to work in the field of child protection.
Al Marzouqi also presented an overview of the efforts of the Emirate of Sharjah in this regard, noting that the emirate of Sharjah has further developed and modernized the Department of Social Services that has been catering for the service of children since 1986 and providing fostering services in alternative families via the national UAE law in addition to supporting social care for the children fostered by alternative families. The Department, she continued, has also been keen, since the year 2006, to secure shelters for children deprived of appropriate social care and is currently operating two shelter centers to cater for children undergoing domestic violence, children of imprisoned women and children of unknown parents.
The forum came to closure with further referral of Ms. Fatima Al Marzouqi to the efforts of the mentioned department in creating a helpline in the year 2007 to allow the reporting of any physical, emotional and sexual abuse, neglect, commercial exploitation or media blackmailing against children, where the department takes immediate to secure the safety and the well -being of the child.

- Khalifa -