Mashreq Sponsors Orphan Kids Summer Camp to Provide Key Skills in Social Media and Cyber Safety

In partnership with Al Ihsan Charity Association & ICDL GCC
Dubai, UAE, August 27th, 2013 – UAE’s leading financial institution, Mashreq Bank and ICDL GCC Foundation have joined hands to empower 22 orphan youth from Ajman Emirate with essential skills in social media and cyber safety.
This initiative is taking place now at Ajman University facilities in a Summer Camp format and will run until September 9, 2013, as part of ICDL Summer Camp 2013 groups. The ICDL Summer Camp program focuses this year on educating the young participants on safety measures when using social media websites and smart devices. The Summer Camp is set to offer students a chance to have a productive summer by learning new skills and socializing with others in a fun learning environment.
Mashreq Bank has been known for the numerous Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives it is involved with. In this particular project, the bank is extending its generosity by sponsoring the enrolment of those underprivileged orphans. Mashreq has also reiterated its on-going commitment to supporting ICDL GCC Foundation’s mission in spreading computer skills and Cyber Safety awareness among the youth across the UAE.
The three-week Summer Camp is organized by ICDL GCC Foundation in partnership with Al Ihsan Charity Association and the training and testing on the delivered programs are being delivered at Ajman University facilities by the National Institute for Vocational Education (NIVE) from Dubai. At the end of the Summer Camp, all the achieving young participants will receive an internationally recognized certificate for the skills they acquire as well as valuable gifts from various other in-kind supporters of the ICDL Summer Camp.
Director General of ICDL GCC, Mr. Jamil Ezzo said: “We hope that this collaboration continues for years to come and other prestigious institutions like Mashreq Bank will find similar good cause initiatives to support, in order to further spread digital literacy and protect our children from the increasing cyber threats. On behalf of Al Ihsan Charity Association as well as ICDL GCC, I extend our gratitude to Mashreq Bank for their contribution and support.”
About ICDL:
The International Computer Driving License (ICDL) is a global computer literacy initiative developed to provide knowledge about Information Technology (IT) and enhance competence of using personal computers and common computer applications for all the citizens of the world. The ICDL GCC Foundation is the sole body to implement and disseminate the program across the GCC States and Iraq with the support of leading educational institutions and accredited bodies. The Foundation mission is to enable proficient use of Information and Communications Technology that empowers individuals, organizations and society, through the development, promotion and delivery of quality certification programmes around the world.

International Report Holds Special Significance for GCC Region Where Spending on Learning Technology is Some of the Highest in the World.

Launch of New Report to assist Educators in Selecting Learning Technology
Dubai, UAE, 14 August 2013 – Pearson, the world’s leading education company, has announced the publication of a new report, known as Alive in the Swamp, which gives practical advice on how to make more informed, evidence-based decisions when selecting learning technology.  The report comes as governments in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar continue to spend millions of US dollars on digital learning solutions. The release of the new report and evaluation index will help maximise this investment.
The Alive in the Swamp report contains an Index, which allows for systematic evaluation of new digital innovations. Under the Index, learning technologies are assessed along three criteria: the effectiveness of the learning technology’s pedagogy; its ability to activate real and lasting system change; and the accessibility and usability of the technology itself.
The Report and Index hold special relevance for the Gulf region, where government expenditure on digital learning is some of the highest in the world. The UAE Government’s ambition of paperless classrooms is being achieved through programmes such as the Federal Higher Education Mobile Learning Initiative, which was launched in September 2012 at a cost estimated to exceed AED50 million.
And while the large number of new learning technologies available in the region has presented both education ministries and schools with unprecedented choice, it has also made it more difficult to determine which of these tools will have the biggest impact on the learning outcomes of students. The Index and Report will allow education agencies, as well as primary and secondary schools, to decide what technology to invest in and when.
The release of Alive in the Swamp is timely, as recent international research indicates that educational technology is often being used to support existing teaching practices regardless of their efficacy, rather than helping to positively transform teaching and learning.
Sir Michael Barber, who acted as an education advisor to the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, noted this trend in his forward to the Alive in the Swamp report, saying:
“The future will not belong to those who focus on technology alone but to those who place it in the wider context of what we know about maximising learning and realising system impact. This report helps advance that goal.”
Pearson’s Katelyn Donnelly, who co-authored the report with Michael Fullan agrees, saying:
“Technology has huge potential for strengthening and deepening what we can learn. However, given the breadth of digital learning products available in the market, it is often difficult to determine which products will have the greatest tangible benefits for schools and students. In a time of unprecedented digital innovation this Index will add clarity to the digital learning field. The Index is accessible and simple to use, allowing educators to employ it to select those digital learning tools that have proven efficacy”.
By identifying gaps in the digital education market, it is also hoped that the Index will lead to producers of learning technology creating products that are more effective in generating improved outcomes for students. Ms Donnelly says:
“We are confident that one of the outcomes Alive in the Swamp will be a drive to improve digital education products and how they are delivered. The Index has highlighted where innovation gaps exist, so we are hoping entrepreneurs will take up the challenge of creating new products that fill these holes in the market, and ultimately improve the quality of the learning technology available in the Gulf region and all around the world”.