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Dr. Natasha Ridge is currently the Executive Director of the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research. Prior to this, she was the Acting Director of Research at the Dubai School of Government. Natasha has a number of publications including a forthcoming book entitled Education and the Reverse Gender Divide in the Gulf States: Embracing the Global, Ignoring the Local. Her additional publications include chapters in the 2012 World Education Yearbook and in publications of the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and UNESCO as well as working papers for the Dubai School of Government and the Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research.

Natasha holds a Doctorate of Education in International Education Policy from Columbia University and a Masters in International and Community Development from Deakin University, Australia. She is also a founding board member and former president of the Gulf Comparative Education Society. Her latest research focuses on the educational aspirations and choices of young men in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Arab migrant teachers, and access and equity in private education in the GCC.

The UAE today, and for the future, has a great need for citizens with qualifications in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). However interest in these subjects has not been growing and students often mistakenly believe that they are ‘too hard’. A key challenge for educators in the UAE therefore is how can we engage students in these subjects and then retain them in these areas at the tertiary level. In addition the new emphasis placed on technology as a solution for the lack of engagement of students forms another challenge for educators. What role can and should technology play in engaging students and improving learning outcomes and what do educators need in order to be able to use technology effectively in the classroom? This talk will look at the current state of STEM education in the UAE, the role of technology in engaging students and what educators and policy makers really need to think about when addressing issues relating to achievement and motivation.

Panel Discussion

Encouraging Emaratis to Study Science

Following the keynote presentation a Panel of experts, involved in the field of education, will discusess ways to motivate and encourage Emirati youth to study science, STEM and technology. Panel members include Dr. Natasha Ridge, Executive Director of the Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, Christina Gitsaki, Assoc. Dean of Foundations at the Academic Central Services at the Higher Colleges of Technology, & Dr. Jamal Hajsaleh, Associate Professor at the Petroleum Institute. Mr. Tarek Ibrahim, Exam Development Supervisor at the Institute of Applied Technology, will moderate the session. see more information