Smart Citizens Need Smart Education

Prof. Nabil El Kadhi is Vice President of Academic Affairs at Khawarizmi International College and Vice President of the Future Cities Council. We explore the schema for future education, UAE education system and what Africa can learn from it, challenges that must be overcome, the difference between smart education and digital education, homeschool vs school/ university, readiness of the classic university for the future, definition of a smart city and a smart citizen, cities in 2040 and advice for students stuck in the old education system.

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Key Takeaways

The schema/ pattern of thought for future education

  • Smart Cities need Smart Citizens. Smart Citizens need Smart Education.
  • Embedding technology on top of education.
  • Paradigm shift towards more customized education.

UAE education system and what Africa can learn from it

  • Digitalized education can be excluding some who do not have access to good connectivity.
  • UAE has been leading during the pandemic. PPP partnerships to ensure everyone has good access to the internet.
  • We are still preparing people to be ready for the industrial revolution 2.0 and 3.0. It has to change.
  • In UAE from basic education level, there is a programme for outstanding students called Rahhal, thus not treating everyone the same.
  • The Rahhal programme is initiated by the Minister of Education. You can have homeschooling and still pass exams at the end and get your degree.
  • UAE is one of the first countries to have an AI university. Business experts need to be able to work with AI.
  • Nabil expands on the critical need for being able to work with Artificial Intelligence.
  • Africa has a lot of diversity of country, resources, culture, language, and more.
  • Africa needs a model of education for African citizens.
  • Nabil expands on Africa’s unique position.

Challenges that must be overcome

  • Exclusion is a challenge, education must be inclusive.
  • Regulation on accreditation and certification. Nabil uses an example to explain his point.
  • We currently don’t evaluate skills and practice. Taking it from the evaluation of knowledge to evaluation of practical skills and creativity.

The difference between smart education and digital education

  • Digital education is using a piece of technology to allow some form of digital tool to facilitate the learning process.
  • Smart education is to use resources fit for purpose and to do a different way of evaluation of the learner. Nabil uses an example of math to explain his point.
  • Smart education is having enough flexibility in choosing the tools across the learning journey to ensure a better learning experience, you are more skillful and a different way of evaluation.
  • Nabil expands on examples of smart education.

On homeschooling vs school/ university

  • Kids should not go to school to receive the same information they can get on Coursera or Youtube or other platforms.
  • School should teach them how to be creative, innovative, and meet someone that can challenge them on their weaknesses. You cannot do this by following a video.
  • Schools and Universities need to think differently and change what they are doing.
  • The perfect situation would be the right blend of the benefits of homeschooling and attending school.

Is the classic university ready for the future?

  • A very limited percentage of current universities are ready for the future. Not from the infrastructure or technology side, but because of less investment in faculty development and the design of the current curriculum. Nabil explains more.

The definition of a smart city and a smart citizen

  • Nabil defines what is meant by SMART.
  • A smart city is where all services are available through a click, are easy to get, affordable, scalable, and controlled. Where a citizen feels happy and accomplished.
  • Smart citizen has been prepared for digitalization, understand the limits and uses of artificial intelligence, and how to interact with atomization. The citizen is ready to contribute to the smart city, Nabil uses examples.

Cities in 2040

  • Most jobs will not disappear, jobs will be transformed. Nabil uses the example of a taxi driver.
  • Legal counseling between humans and machines.
  • Translation between human and artificial intelligence.
  • Using data in different ways.
  • Space tourism.
  • Robot-assisted healthcare.
  • Nanotechnology.
  • We need experts in these jobs.

Advice for students stuck in the old education system

  • Look at the degree you want just like a key to get you in the door.
  • Follow your passion. What do you love to do?
  • Diversify your source of creativity.
  • Be a smart learner and embrace the transformation.

Advice for those reinventing themselves

  • What are your strong points?
  • Find areas where your skills can be useful.
  • How much will your weaknesses be obstacles?
  • See how you can reduce the gap.


About 
Nabil El Kadhi

Vice President of Academic Affairs, Khawarizmi International College.
Vice President, FutureCitiesCouncil.org
CEO and Partner, ISMC: Innovative Solutions and Management Consultancy

'Active, creative researcher, an outstanding manager, and leader looking for new challenges....'

15years of experience in management-high education and research units. He assumed various positions starting from project manager and department head to lab director, Dean, and recently Provost.

He has PhD on formal verification of cryptographic protocols (INRIA Rocquencourt (1998-2000) with the initiative Verified Internet Protocols and the European project TASK).

He started his professional activities early 90th as a lecturer, programmer and IT manager in public/private institutions (TUNISIA). He worked at EPITCH-Paris (2000-2008), he was a major stone in developing EPITECH Curricula and research activities. He contributed to several industrial projects: Artificial intelligence, automatic translation, secure payment, smart card use, ...

Since 2006, he focused his professional activities on educational curricula development and improvement. As vice-president of KnK Partner, a think tank to bridge the gap between universities and corporates, he developed, managed 3 specialized Master degrees for IT and Bank sector needs.

His experience in the Gulf started in 2008 as head of the department of computer eng. in a private university. He initiated and implemented the first students exchange program between French institutions and private Bahraini universities.

El KADHI continued bridging the gap between high education and market needs by incorporating various professional certifications in Computer Studies curricula.

As a manager and strategic leader, he successfully conducts various QA and accreditation with various scopes: institutional, programme review, and international accreditation.

EL KADHI has a Multi-Cultural (French, Tunisian, Lebanese) background, wide international exposure through conferences and journal publications (>50), perfect understanding of cultural variations, and impacts (he visited >55 countries: Europe, Australia, USA, South America, Africa, Asia.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/prof-nabil-el-kadhi-942b8938

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