The British University in Dubai, regions’ first research-based University in UAE joined hands with Emirates Foundation along with other private and public organization and universities for the region’s biggest Science Education event the “Think Science Fair”.
The event is taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from today, 5-7 May, 2015, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan with an objective to encourage the UAE youth’s interest for Science Education.
The fair displays the innovation of more than 500 high school and university youth competing in the Foundation’s national “Think Science Competition”. Prof.Abdullah Alshamsi, Vice-Chancellor of The British University in Dubai congratulated Emirates Foundations initiative of successfully engaging the Youth through “Think Science Fair” event in Science Education.
He said: “Think Science Fair is an effective initiative of Emirates Foundation in bringing together the Government, Industry and Academia to build the right skills and talent to support UAE’s Innovation Strategy.”
The British University in Dubai, working as a connect partner at the event, have planned fun and interesting Science experiments for the youth under the supervision of Dr Sufian Forawi, Programme Coordinator for Master of Education, BUiD and his Master of Education ( Science Stream ) students.
Dr. Sufian has over 20 years of science teaching and coordination experience in higher education and K12 Education and has been a member of several science education organizations such as the National Association of Research on Science Teaching (NARST), American Educational Research Association (AERA) and European Science Education Research Association (ESERA).
Dr Forawi praised Emirates Foundation ‘s Think Science Fair event and said, “Events such as these will not only make science fun for students but also give the teachers an opportunity to work with their students on hands–on projects thus helping them develop skills such as Critical thinking, team work and application of ideas to real-time projects.”
BUiD also held a debate for Teachers on Science Education this morning and will conduct the Science Quiz competition for the Youth in the afternoon at Emirates Foundation’s Think Science Fair. Dr Sufian Forawi and Prof Bassam Abu Hijleh, Atkins Chair & Dean of Faculty of Engineering & IT will jointly conduct the Science Quiz along with their students of Master of Education and MSc Sustainable Design and Built Environment respectively. Prof Abu Hijleh is also serving as one of the Judges for “Think Science Competition” where more than 500 projects by students from UAE schools will be showcased until 7th of May at the event.
Maytha Al Habsi, Chief Programmes Officer at Emirates Foundation said: “I would like to express my gratitude to the staff and students of the British University in Dubai for actively working with Emirates Foundation to make Think Science Fair such a huge success. Educating and empowering the youth is a key tenet of Emirates Foundation and steering them in the direction of scientific study is crucial to ensure the progress of the UAE and its development into a knowledge economy.
“We commend the work the British University continues to do in this regard and we look forward to working closely with them in the future.”
Encouraging the Emirati youth towards Science Education will help UAE tackle one of the key challenges highlighted in the World Economic Council report of 2012, which is enhancing the skills of the Emirati population in order for them to work with private sector workforce and create a balance in the demographic population.
Dr Sufian Forawi’s research work on Professional Development of Science Teachers has been included as a book chapter in the first of its kind book on “Science Education in the Arab Gulf States” published by Sense Publishers recently. Dr Forawi conducted an in-depth analysis of Science Teacher Professional Development (STPD) in the UAE.
He believes that student attainment in Science Education is directly linked to the teacher’s knowledge of the subject and ongoing professional development in the field. For his research Dr Forawi designed a questionnaire to measure the teachers perception of STPD , 283 teachers from the UAE took the survey online.
Some of the key findings from this study is , the Teachers felt that lack of updated technology and lack of training to use this technology effectively is one of the challenges in Science Education and also lack of time and incentives for teachers to take up professional development also one of the reasons affecting Science education in the UAE.
Dr Forawi recommends in the chapter that Government School Policy Makers and teachers need to put together guidelines for implementing use of latest technology and teacher training for teaching Science in the Classrooms.