Opinion: Dr Asmaa Al Fadala

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  • Published: April 07, 2016

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Rewarding Work at WISE Research

Even in the few years of its existence, Qatar Foundation’s (QF’s) World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), has raised the status of education on the global agenda, and has emerged as a premier platform for education.

Committed to action and to making a difference in people’s lives in all contexts globally, WISE is an ongoing initiative, which provides our growing community with a rich resource of information, research, and best practices.

Affirming its position as a regional and global influence that nurtures new ideas and connects innovators, WISE recognizes and supports successful educational practices through an expanding array of programs.

WISE Research represents a decisive effort to provide the education community with the latest research in a range of key areas, produced in collaboration with recognized, leading experts. It features concrete, improved practices from diverse contexts around the world, and includes policy recommendations for education leaders at all levels.

As Director of Research at WISE, I co-ordinate the work of our team in planning and producing new research on core education topics. We analyze research, and engage local and global stakeholders in ongoing discussions and surveys to provide a framework and guidance for our direction and research priorities. Our growing community of experts also produces original research and articles for our online platform.

Needless to say, our research series is often supplemented with related workshops and gatherings organized with collaborators through the year. This has resulted in a network that includes individuals and groups dedicated to education, crucial to empowerment, social transformation, and economic security.

It is satisfying to see how our Research Series, related publications and events bring the work of QF to a wider audience locally and internationally.

Our engagement in China, where the three WISE books are currently being produced in Mandarin, for example, has the potential to bring the work of WISE and Qatar Foundation directly to a vast Chinese readership.The lasting positive impact of investment in education only becomes clear over the long term; reliable results are rarely immediate. Therefore, it’s important to remain positive and we believe our impact will be significant. In some areas we have already seen progress. We participate in local events, and have organized workshops to build capacity for local academics, supporting them in writing valuable case studies.

As part of our focus on supporting school principals, assistant principals and head teachers in Qatar build their leadership skills, we launch initiatives that equip them with strategies and tools to drive sustainable change in teaching practices. Our five-month ‘Empowering Leaders of Learning’ program, which was launched in January, is an example.

Also, our ‘Learning Labs’ in the Majlis at WISE 2015 engaged local teachers and their students in active, hands-on experiences with practical skills such as coding, critical thinking, and teamwork. With such experiences, I have no doubt that our young people can be engaged to explore their curiosity in new ways and thrive in their learning.

An example of the exciting work is our dynamic collaboration with Babson College, in the US, that has created new energy and interest around entrepreneurship in education. The report entitled Entrepreneurship Education: A Global consideration from Practice to Policy Around the World was received enthusiastically at WISE last November.

We recently followed up with a panel discussion and an interactive ‘world café’ style workshop with our collaborators. Given that young people are often unengaged in their learning experiences at school, we believe that bringing entrepreneurial perspectives to our youth, as well as life skills they can use in a wide variety of circumstances and contexts, will support them in their learning and encourage more productive outlooks for their future.