Fifth edition of Education Forum on Heritage and Identity held at Tariq Bin Ziad School
The role of education in preserving and promoting Qatari values and the country’s national identity, in a way that combines both modernity and tradition, has been placed in the spotlight at a Qatar Foundation forum.
The fifth edition of the Education Forum on Heritage and Identity, organized by the Education Development Institute – part of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Pre-University Education – brought together educators from Qatar's government and private schools, as well as researchers, on a platform for dialogue on learning initiatives built around Qatari culture and heritage, and the Arabic language.
During the main session of the forum at Tariq Bin Ziad School – which took place on the day of the school’s official opening under QF - Dr. Aisha Al-Mannai, a member of Qatar’s Shura Council and the Arab Parliament, spoke about how to national fundamentals such as religion, language, heritage, and national identity are key to any country’s development and progress.
She emphasized the role of schools in Qatar in promoting these values among the wider community, through national programs in fields such as Islamic studies, cultural heritage, and history; and the importance of the Arabic language in promoting a sense of cultural and national belonging among young people.
Language is an essential element of the culture of every country, and therefore preserving it and preventing it from disappearing should be a priority.
“Language is an essential element of the culture of every country, and therefore preserving it and preventing it from disappearing should be a priority,” she said.
“There is no doubt that learning the English language is very important, and it must have a great focus in our schools and universities. But it cannot replace our mother tongue, which must remain the primary language of our children, whether within the family or in schools and universities.
“We are proud of the attention that our leadership gives to the Arabic language, whether through legislation, initiatives, or centers that enhance the standing of this language. All of our children must realize the importance of preserving our religion, language, and heritage, and contribute to preserving cultural intellectual heritage and Islamic values for Qatari society.”
Saad Al Rumaihi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Qatar Press Centre, said that incorporating cultural heritage in academic curricula in Qatar supports the country’s progress and development, highlighting that the Arabic language is a key factor in preserving the values and heritage of Arab and Islamic countries.
“Arabic is a beautiful and rich language and we must adhere to its use,” he said.
When our Arab youth speak in regional and international forums in the Arabic language, they influence their audience.
“When our Arab youth speak in regional and international forums in the Arabic language, they influence their audience. Within our curricula in Qatar, we have employed the Arabic language in various subjects, such as engineering, mathematics, and science, as we graduate doctors, engineers, and researchers.
“We must continue to promote the language among our children. Tariq Bin Ziad School is an example of this, as it has special symbolism for the Qatari community."
Jameel Al-Shammari, Director, Qatar Leadership Academy – one of the schools under the umbrella of QF’s Pre-University Education - moderated the discussion, which focused on the importance of the Arabic language, moral values, and cultural heritage in enhancing national identity, and enabled the speakers and the public to interact and exchange views.”
“Qatar Leadership Academy attaches great importance to cultural identity and heritage, with its educational programs providing a bilingual education and focusing on the Arabic language while also taking an approach designed to nurture leadership qualities,” he said.
"Each month, we dedicate a day to heritage and host a national leader, to inspire and set an example for our students."
The forum also included training workshops for educators on topics such as Qatari narrations within classrooms, Qatari songs and chants, Qur’an recitation modes, and the challenges that a changing world presents for languages and concepts of identity; as well as an exhibition of students’ projects.