Prince Talal: Real development of positive change will not be achieved without quality education.
The 6th AGFUND Development Forum concludes its work
HRH Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz, president of AGFUND and chairman of Board of Trustees of Arab Open University, affirmed that real development is much relevant to strengthening the will of continuous change of individuals and community, in a manner that guarantees strengthening of positive concepts and values and resulting judicious openness to human experiences. “Change that leads to real development transformations will not be achieved without quality education that enables man to use but lead the keys of thoughtful integration into the age. On this basis, Sustainable Development Goals 2030, approved by the world leaders in Sep. 2015, placed education on top of its 17 goals”, he said.
This came as part of the Prince’s speech in the “Role and Contribution of Education in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals” Seminar, held at the Arab Open University in Riyadh, in presence of Queen Sofia, as part of AGFUND’s 6th Development Forum. Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal bin Abdulaziz delivered the speech. In the opening of the Forum, children made an innovative show, carrying models that represent the 17 goals of sustainable development agenda. By the show, they could deliver an indicative message to the world, stressing the necessity of achieving sustainable development.
Prince Talal pointed that the Open University and AGFUND represent a significant twinning in the development movement in favor of more than one community and on more than a single level. According to him, with the spread of the Arab Open University in nine countries, it has become a joint framework among the Arab youths with the aim to build an Arab cultural unity with a real practical framework. AGFUND, through its strategy, that is based on non-discrimination among communities in providing development support, reflects the principle of “Unity of Humanity”, on which AGFUND is grounded with the support of the Leaders of the Gulf States, on top of which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
According to Prince Talal, sustainable development agenda, that emerged at the end of the millennium goals, is varied and direct and is not difficult to be achieved in case we give due importance to education, which is the “engine of development”. These goals, with their collectiveness, address all of us. They are a human working constitution in addressing issues that threaten the human being wherever existing.
On his part, Dr. Ahmad bin Muhammad Al Issa, the Minister of Education, addressed the Forum and said: “The title adopted by the Forum about the role of education in achieving sustainable development is an incentive and inspiring title for educational staff and thinkers and affirms that qualitative education is the only way to sustainable development; being the first road to achieve development and welfare, generate gobs, eliminate poverty and solve social problems.
The Minister hoped the Forum would welcome every appropriate thought and every smart and rational opportunity and initiative that would achieve our goal of high quality education and building its pillars and elements of success.
He said, “We are living in an age with a single choice of stimulating our children’s minds and hearts – that are full of love for Allah and for this homeland – to give, take initiative and produce in favor of themselves, their homeland and the whole world. In this context, the only way is to exert every possible effort to upgrade our educational missions and cautiously open to the age and its development facts in a manner that achieves wellbeing and growth for all”.
Al Issa stressed that the Saudi Vision 2030 had drawn the public policy, trends, goals and commitments in order that the Kingdom would be a leading model on all levels. God Willing, Vision 2030 will be an approach and roadmap to economic and development working in Saudi Arabia. Beside its pillars, the Vision paid attention to the UN approved sustainable development goals through its different programs. These development goals are accurately followed up by the Saudi Government, which follows up and monitors the national indicators through the Ministry of Economy and Planning.
The Minister of Education highlighted that the Vision is not, as stressed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, a set of aspirations but a set of implementing programs for the sake of achieving our national priorities. “The Ministry of Education implements a number of programs that are related to the 4th goal (Education) of the sustainable development goals through expanding the stage of kindergarten, integrating early education stages, redrawing the education roadmap and new curricula for all grades that suit the 21th century, transforming education into an attractive job and engaging the family and the community in the educational process”, he said.
In his speech, Al Issa called for laying foundation for the culture of institutional educational education, addressing challenges and difficulties in a modern scientific manner and not accelerating the results of developing the education. This is because our desired change touches upon the human being with his characteristics and skills and also touches upon the communal culture that becomes complicated with the complication of the human nature and its interventions. “We must always review and govern our works according to our objectives and plans and activate the tools of stimulation and accountability in addressing any recession that may occur”, he said.
Prof. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and inventor of microcredit mechanism, delivered a speech in the opening of the seminar. He commended Prince Talal’s development contributions, stressing the necessity of transforming from the traditional system of dictation into implanting innovation and invention. He said: “It is a shame the educational systems teach students how to search for jobs instead of how to produce jobs for others”.
According to Yunus said: “The greatest fact I discovered in my life is that most of those dealing with Grameen Bank are illiterate – most of them are women – but they enjoy skills and abilities that exceed that of the literate.
Nasser Bakr Al Kahtani, the Executive Director of AGFUND, said that AGFUND’s 6th development forum carrying the title of “Role and Contribution of Education in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals”, which is organized in Riyadh this time, is an extension to the series of forums that were held by AGFUND in Philippines, Uruguay, Rabat, Abu Dhabi and Geneva. It has also become a development mechanism that goes along with holding the meetings of AGFUND’s Prize Committee and a development radiation for the relevant organizations. This is because the issues raised in the Forum address the “roots and pillars of development”.
Al Kahtani pointed out that the title of this Forum is a fruit of Prince Talal’s decision and the recommendations of AGFUND Prize Committee. The topics of the prize and its events are consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals announced by the UN in September 2015. According to him, the Prize Committee announced “No Poverty” to be the topic of the Prize in 2018.