Research Publications

GCES | Al Qasimi Foundation | Publication

Research Publications

GCES, Gulf comparative education society, Al Qasimi Foundation, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

Seventh Annual GCES Symposium: Innovation and Transformation: Values, Challenges, and Prospects for Education in the GCC

March 31, 2017

The Gulf Comparative Education Society (GCES) held its seventh annual symposium under the sponsorship of the Arab Open University Kuwait, the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research from April 5th to 7th, 2016. Entitled “Innovation and Transformation: Values, Challenges, and Prospects for Education in the GCC,” the symposium was held at the Arab Open University in Kuwait City, Kuwait.

It consisted of three different pre-conference workshops, two keynote addresses, three featured panels and seven breakout sessions with over 42 presentations by both invited speakers as well as those who had submitted abstracts. The speakers came from a wide variety of countries including the UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Switzerland, England, Australia, and the United States, and represented different voices in the education sector, such as policymakers, academics and researchers, school providers and leaders, consultants, and teachers.

The theme for 2016 was inspired by a 2015 UNESCO ‘Call for Action’ to governments, institutions, faculty members, and students around the world to address the need for recognizing and reinforcing the practices of Open, Flexible, Online learning (OFO) as fundamental to the UN goals of Education for Sustainable Development and Education for All. The conference included presentations that focused on the use of innovation to transform education across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The keynote addresses were delivered by Dr. Suaad Alshebou from the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) Kuwait and Dr. Gita Steiner-Khamsi from Columbia University.

The featured panels and breakout sessions addressed the following key topics:

  • Culture, Leadership, and Reform
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Education Systems, Public Policy, and Economic Development
  • Effective Classroom Practices
  • Internationalization of Higher Education
  • International Trends vs. Regional Realities
  • Perspectives on Teacher Development
  • Meaningful Inclusion for All Children
  • School Culture Assessment 3
  • School Leadership
  • Women and Girls in Education

In addition, the symposium brought together over 75 participants working in a range of organizations across the Gulf states and beyond, all of whom shared an interest in comparative education in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Following the symposium, speakers were asked if they would like to submit a 1,500 – 3,000 word paper on their presentation. This volume is the compilation of those papers that were submitted. While it does not cover all of the presentations that were made at the symposium, slides for some of the other presentations are available on the GCES website (

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