For Alef Education, educational technology extends beyond merely innovating and leveraging software and hardware to enhance the learning experience. In today’s world, education should inevitably intertwine with sustainability and environmental stewardship.
In our conversation with Dr. Aishah Al Yammahi, board advisor of Alef Education, she shares how the EdTech company is embracing the green movement. The board advisor for Alef Education also discusses how the organization champions sustainable education by raising awareness not just within the academe but also in government.
Economy Middle East: How is Alef Education incorporating sustainability principles into its core operations and educational offerings, especially in the context of COP28 and global climate goals?
Dr. Aishah Al Yammahi: As a pioneer in the EdTech sector, we emphasize integrating sustainability into all aspects of the education process and our ventures. Climate education is crucial as it raises students’ awareness of the importance of achieving sustainability goals. It also empowers educators to actively contribute to promoting climate action.
We have implemented various approaches to support a climate-focused outlook on education. This includes providing content, tools and educational programs that address sustainability and environmental protection. In addition, we have introduced various strategies to improve human capabilities in delivering education to promote climate action. These include motivating students to actively participate in awareness-raising activities and campaigns. The focus of these campaigns is to mitigate the impact of climate change and implement adaptation mechanisms to address this.
With this in mind, we have launched and implemented various environmental programs and initiatives, including the Alef EcoChamps program. This initiative addresses important topics such as energy, the Earth’s biosphere, consumption, climate protection and innovation for sustainability. It aligns with Ministry of Education-approved courses. The program is available in Arabic and English. Additionally, it takes a self-learning approach and coincides with COP28, which is hosted by the UAE at Expo City in Dubai this month.
We also believe in increased collaboration and concerted efforts to develop climate education. Alef Education has entered into a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Education. The goals are to promote a culture of climate action in schools and educational institutions in the UAE. We aim to raise awareness of climate change among students and the academic community. Our partnership with the Ministry of Education reflects our shared interest in facilitating green education and access to climate education resources.
Economy Middle East: In the wake of COP28, what specific steps is the company taking to raise awareness among students about climate change and the importance of sustainability?
Dr. Aishah Al Yammahi: Sustainability and climate protection are cornerstones of Alef Education programs and initiatives. One of the most notable is the Alef EcoChamps program. It is a collaborative effort with the Ministry of Education, Cambridge Partnership for Education – a department of Cambridge University Press & Assessment – and the Carbon Literacy Project.
As mentioned, it aims to give students a broader understanding of climate change and sustainability issues. It includes targeted educational content such as interactive games, videos, field trips and other innovative activities. This enhances student engagement and interaction.
We have also played a key role in developing the Educators’ Voice initiative launched by the Ministry of Education. This provides a platform to recognize the commitment and efforts of educators in promoting climate awareness and integrating climate change issues into the curriculum.
Economy Middle East: How is Alef Education advocating for sustainability education at the government and policy levels?
Dr. Aishah Al Yammahi: We are committed to promoting sustainable education and improving access to climate-focused educational materials. We are also committed to raising awareness of the importance of integrating sustainability and climate issues into educational frameworks to overcome challenges and work towards a better future. This commitment is reflected in our strategic partnerships with the Ministry of Education for environmental sustainability and climate education. These partnerships provide a framework for our cooperation and joint efforts to achieve our shared ecological sustainability goals from an educational perspective.
This collaboration helps to deliver green education too. It improves resource availability through a broad range of initiatives that enhance the knowledge and skills of students and benefit the academic community. In addition, this partnership allows us to provide our expertise in designing and implementing green education initiatives. We do this while actively participating in climate education events organized by the Ministry of Education.
Economy Middle East: What are the company’s thoughts on the role of technology in supporting sustainable education?
Dr. Aishah Al Yammahi: Technology is critical in today’s educational landscape to facilitate learning. Smart and digital innovations are fundamental to a more adaptable, inclusive and sustainable education system.
At COP28, we will showcase the Alef Metaverse. This groundbreaking solution integrates world-class gamification with educational platforms in a moderated environment. Its goal is to provide students with compelling, engaging and immersive learning experiences. The metaverse experience is designed to increase academic flexibility and raise student and user awareness of carbon emissions and sustainability principles.
The Alef Metaverse accomplishes this by providing various activities and assignments. As a whole, it educates users about conservation practices, illustrates the impact of actions in real-time and creates an engaging learning environment. It also employs the latest VR innovations, high-resolution visual effects, advanced surround sound technology and immersive digital content.
Economy Middle East: How do you see Alef Education’s role evolving in the years to come?
Dr. Aishah Al Yammahi: In the coming years, Alef Education will play a crucial role in shaping the future of education. Our main goals are to facilitate access to educational content for everyone. We also aim to use advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, to improve the learning experience for teachers and students. Our objective is to increase the efficiency of educational outcomes, align them to the dynamic needs of today’s world and reshape the future of education.
We are confident that we will continue to use modern technological tools such as digital education technologies, artificial intelligence, and the metaverse in various areas of education. We will also look to incorporate blockchain tools and other emerging technologies to advance education in the UAE and globally.
About Dr. Aishah Al Yammahi
Backed by nearly 30 years of experience in education, Dr. Aishah Al Yammahi sits as the board advisor of leading EdTech company Alef Education. Her career is a testament to her commitment to the sector. She started as a math teacher and went on to become the first Emirati to hold a doctorate degree in artificial intelligence research in education from the British University in Dubai.
She has worked with the country’s Ministry of Education. In this endeavor, she oversaw the implementation of the Alef education system across 57 public schools in the capital. She also served as the director of the National Commission for Education, Culture & Science in the UAE at UNESCO.
Her accolades include being part of the “51 Emirati Women Achievers” book under Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak’s patronage and a spot in World’s Leaders Magazine’s “World’s Most Influential Women in Education to Follow, 2023.”
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