Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, Director-General (DG) of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), stressed the need for the 21st-century university to keep up with change and cater to the needs of the ever-changing labor market. He reaffirmed that such goals call for relying on critical thinking and open science, endeavoring to train new capacities and professors in both academia and scientific research; providing them with the skills to keep up with the change; and monitoring training and scientific research in their relation to the jobs of the future.
The DG made this statement in a pre-recorded address to the First Regional Forum for Open Science in the Arab Region, hosted by Galala University in Galala, Egypt. The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the Arab Republic of Egypt organized the event, in cooperation with the Egyptian National Commission for Education, Science and Culture, UNESCO Regional Office for Arab Countries in Cairo, and Galala University. The opening session of the Forum, which kicked off today, Tuesday, September 21, 2021, saw the screening of the pre-recorded address of Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, President of the Egyptian National Commission.
In his address, Dr. AlMalik hailed the role assumed by Galala University, a new generation university that strives to ensure good education in line with the current major trends in the field of higher education. He noted that it is high time to bring about the desired change in higher education and scientific research as today’s youth possesses different sets of skills and aspirations regarding information, and have different approaches to dealing with the learning tools. He added that the traditional pre-set model of specialty and field of knowledge fades away before changes witnessed in the universities of the 21st century.
In the course of his address, the DG posed two questions: How can we rethink the mission of research professors who face challenges that require re-setting their missions and roles? And how can we build students’ capacities in the universities of the 21st century through open science and open-source resources? The answer to these two questions, he noted, leads us to keep up with the changes pertaining to the jobs of the future and the ever-changing roles of universities, scientific research and innovation.
At the close of his address, Dr. AlMalik reaffirmed that ICESCO, in light of its forward-looking vision, has made serious strides towards highlighting this major trend through holding international conferences and symposia, most notably, the seminar on “Skills and Jobs of Tomorrow”, held in April 2021, in addition to numerous events on AI application mechanisms.
The Forum saw high-caliber participation including several presidents of Egyptian universities, international experts and academicians in the field of open science, in addition to Dr. Ghada Abdel Bari, Secretary-General of the Egyptian National Commission for Education, Science and Culture. ICESCO also participated in the face-to-face proceedings of the Forum with a delegation comprised of Dr. Raheel Qamar, Head of the Sector of Science and Technology, and Dr. Omar Halli, Advisor to the DG for the Federation of the Universities of the Islamic World.