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Bahrain ready for a new chapter in hi-tech schooling.

BAHRAIN'S public education is more equipped and willing to adopt smart schools and new technologies compared to other states in the region, according to experts.

Integrating new technologies into the classroom can save time and energy for teachers, students and parents alike.

This is because some programmes allow seamless communication and sharing of information between teachers, administration members and parents that would have taken longer through traditional methods.

Bahrain has already started utilising technologies inside the classrooms across all government schools through programmes like Office 365, in partnership with Microsoft.

Microsoft regional education director Ahmed Ashour told the GDN that thanks to Bahrain's infrastructure and connectivity of the schools it was relatively easier to deploy these technologies in comparison to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

"These programmes have everything students and teachers need, they can store all of their notes, they can use it to host video conferences, there's a chat programme for the staff and students, they're all in one programmes," said Mr Ashour.

"There has not been much resistance in adopting these technologies, but there has to be some form of change management because there has to be a little more work to get used to it in order to benefit from the change, and the benefits don't come from day one.

"There also has to be incentives, we often tell ministries that we work with to provide those incentives for the teachers who make the effort to change their mindsets."

Meanwhile, Classera Middle East chief executive Mohammed Al Madani said the firm has been working with private schools to adopt new applications and interconnectivity inside the classrooms - adding that they were in discussions with the Education Ministry to turn public schools into smart schools.

"The importance of this for the students is that we are preparing them for the future, which is going to be more technologically reliant than ever," he said.

"The job market is always changing, so we are equipping them with the knowledge of how to use technology at an early age.

"Teachers can now, with a press of a button or through speech recognition, assign homework, choose from a bank of questions, and send it to the students, with the programme automatically correcting homework when received.

"Parents of course get to monitor anything, students can no longer hide things from their parents, they can be on top of everything, track them on the bus, load their allowance for school and various other things."

He said the digitisation of learning will also help children with various disabilities as there are several programmes that can help them integrate better with the rest of the classroom.

Both of them were speaking to the GDN on the sidelines of the British Educational Training and Technology Middle East and Africa (Bett MEA) conference, which was held in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Heady

The two-day conference, which was held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, witnessed participation from more than 3,000 education and technology experts from around the world along with 100 exhibitors from more than 60 countries.

It was held under the patronage of Abu Dhabi Executive Council Vice-Chairman His Highness Shaikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in partnership with Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) and in collaboration with Microsoft, the event's Worldwide partner.

ghazi@gdn.com.bh

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:May 4, 2019
Words:575
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