Tribune News Network
POLICY-MAKERS, researchers, teachers and representatives from local educational organisations came together recently at a Research Outcome Seminar (ROS) hosted by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) under the theme 'Education for the Future of Qatar'.
More than 80 participants discussed and shared knowledge on advances made by researchers funded through QNRF, part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), in education.
Dr Michael Reksulak, Pillar Director, Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, QNRF, emphasised the importance of the discipline to the realisation of Qatar's goals, saying:"This seminar is part of our continuing conversation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education about how to incorporate lessons from research into Qatar's classrooms."
The ROS series is an initiative designed to provide researchers with a public platform to share the outcomes of cutting-edge research activity supported and enabled by QNRF funding, as well as being a forum for enhancing synergy and exchanging knowledge.
In its latest edition, Dr Abdellahi Hussein, Program Manager, Education, QNRF, gave an overview of the grants that QNRF has provided to researchers in the field of education. He discussed the outcomes generated by their projects, and highlighted the need to increase the level of collaborative research amongst institutions in Qatar.
The event began with presentations on four completed QNRF-funded projects, as Dr Hayat Heji of the Al-Noor Institute for the Blind discussed tools for helping Arabic-speaking pre-school students who are blind or visually-impaired; followed by Dr Zohreh Eslami, of Texas A&M University at Qatar, who highlighted techniques for improving reading skills among middle-school science students.
Dr Saquib Razak, from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, spoke of his experience of 'Alice Middle East', software that guides students through a 3D interactive world. The presentations concluded with Dr Ziad Said, of the College of the North Atlantic Qatar, who highlighted the attitude of students towards science.
The second part of the seminar was dedicated to an engaging panel discussion among stakeholders in Qatar on the theme of 'Bridging the gap between researchers and educational policy makers: translating research evidences into practice', moderated by Professor Abdullah Abu-Tineh, Director of National Center for Educator Development, Qatar University. Panelists included Dr Aziza Ahmed al Saadi, Director of Policy and Educational Research, Ministry of Education and Higher Education; Professor Rupert Maclean, CNA-Q; and Dr Faryal Khan, UNESCO Doha Education Program Specialist.
The panel session provided an opportunity for education researchers and policy-makers to share a platform and discuss ways in which the gap between research theory and practice can be bridged. Developing homegrown research studies, rather than importing solutions, was one of the suggestions made as panelists underscored the need for closer collaboration and dialogue between the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and Qatar's research community.