As the start-up drive proliferates in the Middle East, government and citizens come together to magnify tech growth with an emphasis on community betterment.
The United Arab Emirates, in an attempt to shape the nation’s future, has shown a keen desire to instill creativity in youth. In the ongoing month of February, the country celebrates inventiveness with the organization of ‘UAE Innovation Month 2018’. The month is dedicated to the enterprising spirit of UAE’s visionary leadership. It is a manifestation of UAE’s plan to equip and nurture a culture of innovation. The program has seen hearty participation from citizens across the seven emirates where activities, programs, and conferences showing various innovations in UAE are being conducted in full swing.
Most prominent universities and schools are hosting innovation programs to prepare the students for real-world challenges. Education technology takes the center-stage everywhere given the massive potential and proven results. The purpose of investing in an Edtech Revolution is apparent. The aspiration is to raise an Emirati workforce that can enjoy good living standards through increased productivity and high-wage jobs.
In an initiative to hail inventive and creative thinkers, the Google Innovation Hub UAE was launched in the first week of February at the UAE University’s Science and Innovation Park. The first of its kind center in the Middle East can cater up to 120 students daily and train them for essential skills in 3D printing, Makers Space, laser cutting, machine learning, app development, robotics, etc. The Makers Space courses can be undertaken by students aged 8 to 16 whereas the Machine Learning and App Factory courses, comprising coding in virtual reality and lessons in robotics can be taken by students aged 16 to 24. The center for technological excellence is poised to steer innovation in education in UAE.
The prime focus of innovation hub is to amplify the progression of science and technology and equip the students with the best of Google resources. The tech hub is a venue for aspiring developers and tech enthusiasts to engage directly with companies and training partners like Google. Essential parts of the innovation center will be technology-related events, workshops, and coworking spaces.
The inauguration ceremony was graced by the Lt-Gen Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior UAE. His Excellency was escorted by other Government ministers and representatives of Google throughout the launch event. During the event, H.E. was seen interacting with the participants, also showing an avid interest in demonstrations, especially of the wearable technologies like Virtual Reality.
The Chairman of Al Bayt Mitwahid Association, Saif Ali Al Qubaisi was delighted at the inaugration of the hub, “I’m extremely proud that we’ve opened the Innovation Hub Powered by Google. It’s a state-of-the-art facility that will allow students to participate in valuable high-tech classes, which will benefit the next generation of talented minds here in the UAE.”
“Alongside UAE University (UAEU), the Abu Dhabi Department of Education (Adek) and Google, we aim to achieve the long-term vision for the UAE by developing the innovative and technological skills of the country’s people.”
Dr. Ali Rashid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Adek, Chancellor of UAEU and member of the Executive Council shared a similar optimistic emotion, “This is an agenda that aims to enhance awareness of the importance of innovation and digital creativity.
“Artificial intelligence is the engine driving forward the Fourth Industrial Revolution; it encourages companies around the world to design innovative products by using artificial intelligence.”
Such initiatives and establishments are the templates for urban success. They drive us to believe that innovation is a work ethic and a way of life.
Transition to a knowledge-based economy is fortified by the establishment of these innovation centers focussing on STEM subjects. The drive also supports overall internet ecosystem in the country.
Elementary and middle school students gain immense confidence when receiving hands-on training. This fact has been emphasized enough by EdTech trainers and child psychologists. The observance of UAE Innovation Month cannot be accomplished without laying considerable focus on EdTech, which comprises many pro-student technologies.
With the UAE Innovation Month, the country aims to recognize innovation as an institutional culture that has a far-reaching effect on the society. The ongoing activities also seek to enhance the working curriculum in government departments and promoting the entrepreneurial spirit in Emiratis. A unified and progressive system where both the divisions work in symbiosis will exponentially increase the progress and development of the country.
When every Emirati is well-equipped during academic and working years, a global recognition and flowering of tech clusters will follow. A burgeoning economy requires the support of dynamic, forward-thinking citizens. Initiatives like the UAE Innovation Month show a clear intention of the government’s resolve to develop and the citizens’ desire to work hard and thrive.