Balqees al Hassni, vice president, Knowledge Oman and head of Wellbeing at Al Sahwa Schools, has been invited by the International and Private Schools Educational Forum Middle East 2019 to speak along with other international educators. Balqees will be the only Omani invited as a speaker at the three-day event in Ras al Khaimah, UAE, beginning October 15. In an email interview with TheWeek, she says, having a department of wellbeing in every school is crucial for the learning process.
What is your definition of ‘Wellbeing in Schools’?
Wellbeing in school means having a healthy environment for children and staff. In fact, health and wellbeing are an essential component for effective learning. Schools that introduce and incorporate such an activity ensure that education is coupled with a healthy and productive environment that is critical for achievements of the children.
What is the need of the hour for development of education in the Middle East?
Bridging the gap between academia and the professional industry, much as what we do at Knowledge Oman, where we engage the professional industry with academic educators to ensure that professional learning and experience is shared, and that students have the necessary knowledge of what is being practised in the real world as opposed to what is taught in the academia.
Is it time for school curricula to be revamped, considering the need for technological intervention in the classroom?
Indeed it is, and actually is a must. Children today are tech savvy and schools need to be updated and keep abreast with technology to stay on the same wave length and track.
What is the key message from your presentation at the forum?
My presentation at the International and Private Schools Educational Forum 2019 is going to be about the importance of introducing and having a wellbeing department in schools. My discussion will revolve around how wellbeing is done in Al Sahwa Schools, why is it considered the need of the hour, what are the challenges and benefits of having a well-being function at a school in general.
As a student, did you seek any change in the education style?
I was always a big fan of science, and always wanted to experiment the science theory in a practical way. There were challenges those days in finding equipment needed or material used in the school laboratory, and that was a shortcoming in our learning those days. Today, we got the virtual labs which support the practicality of science concepts enormously.
Your suggestions to improve modern-day education?
Modern education should be student-centric and not teacher-centric. Students these days get more access to information than before. In the past, we needed to look for information in books, sometimes outdated ones, too. Now, you are one click away from any information.