2020 IIOE Annual General Meeting News -IIOE Welcomes Rotating Presidency for year 2021January 10, 2021
Editor’s note: This article is the first in a series of reports on the 2020 IIOE Annual General Meeting, following reports will feature the experience and practice shared by the participating universities and enterprises.
On December 9, 2020, the “2020 Annual General Meeting of International Institute of Online Education (IIOE)”, co-hosted by Ain Shams University, Egypt and International Centre for Higher Education Innovation under the auspices of UNESCO (UNESCO-ICHEI), was successfully held at the International Conference Centre of Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), with about 190 attendants online and offline.
Attendants attending the meeting on site include Prof. Ming Li, Director of UNESCO-ICHEI and Secretary-General of the IIOE secretariat, Prof. Wei Han, Executive Deputy Director of UNESCO-ICHEI and Deputy Secretary-General of the IIOE Secretariat, Min Wang, Industry-Academy Cooperation Senior Consultant of UNESCO-ICHEI, Xiaoli Shen, Chief Culture Officer of UNESCO-ICHEI, Prof. Kefu Huang, Vice Provost and Minister of Teaching Department of SUSTech, Yunsheng Zhang, Deputy Dean of School of International Communication & Cooperation, Shenzhen Institute of Information Technology, as well as Shanglang Yao, Founder of Jiker, Chief Technology Officer of IIOE, Co-Director of IIOE Management Centre, Ying Jun, General Manager of iFLYTEK South China Shenzhen Branch, as well as representatives from other universities and enterprises, with online guests including representatives of UNESCO regional offices, IIOE partner universities in Africa and Asia Pacific, as well as China.
Prof. Kefu Huang, Vice Provost and Minister of Teaching Department of SUSTech, welcomed the partners and friends of IIOE and introduced the meeting agenda. In his opening speech, Prof. Mahmoud Elmeteini, President of Ain Shams University, Egypt, and rotating president of IIOE in 2020, pointed out that in the context of the impact of COVID-19 on global education, universities around the world need to make full use of online education to ensure education continuity. He congratulated IIOE on its important achievements in promoting the development of online education and extended much appreciation to UNESCO-ICHEI, SUSTech, and partner universities and enterprises of IIOE for their supporting the development of IIOE.
The session of working reports on IIOE in 2020 was chaired by Prof. Dragan Gašević, Professor of Learning Analytics and Director of the Centre for Learning Analytics at Monash University, Australia, and Prof. Cher Ping Lim, Chief Expert of IIOE, Chair Professor of Learning Technologies and Innovation at the Education University of Hong Kong, and Visiting Professor of SUSTech Center for Higher Education Research, whom gave a special report entitled “Rationales for IIOE amid the Pandemic – Enabling the Digital Transformation of Higher Education via the Adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)”.
Professor Lim pointed out that IIOE serves as a booster for realising the SDG4 by promoting the development of blended teaching and learning, and advocating international collaboration.
Following was a special report on “IIOE since its Launch in April 2020: Key Operations and Data”, made by Dr. Siyuan Feng, Co-Director of IIOE Management Centre, UNESCO-ICHEI, who summarised and demonstrated data related to IIOE’s efforts in developing online education resources, hosting pandemic response trainings, developing certified training programmes with partner universities.
The forum of partner universities was highlighted by discussions about the development of IIOE in Asia and Africa, which was chaired by Prof. Cher Ping Lim. Prof. Mona Abdel-Aal from Ain Shams University, Egypt delivered keynote speeches, sharing development and implementation experience of IIOE in Egypt. Prof. Syed Mansoor Sarwar, President of the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan and Prof. Waqar Mahmood also represented the university and shared the university’s COVID-19 responses and online education strategies to ensure the quality of education during the pandemic.
In the succeeding segments, other IIOE partner universities shared their experiences in enabling and sustaining the digital transformation of online education via the adoption of ICT in their respective universities in the context of the pandemic. Delegated representatives from international organisations, prospective IIOE partner universities, and ICT enterprises also joined the following discussion about the important role of international cooperation in higher education in the context of the pandemic, the demand of and challenges against the digital transformation of higher education faced by universities around the world, and innovative solutions and practical cases of ICT-enabled education.
Prof. Wei Han, Executive Deputy Director of UNESCO-ICHEI, hosted the ceremony to welcome the 2021 Rotating Presidency of IIOE. According to the rotating principles for the IIOE presidency, a university from Asia will receive the position and lead the IIOE in 2021, and the presidency will return to Africa in 2022. Based on the candidate’s contribution to the construction of IIOE in 2020 and its excellent practice in the smart classroom project, the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan was elected as 2021 Rotating Presidency of IIOE. Prof. Syed Mansoor Sarwar, Vice-Chancellor of University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan, delivered a speech appreciating the leadership of his predecessor, Prof. Mahmoud Elmeteini, thanked UNESCO-ICHEI and IIOE partners, and expressed his vision of IIOE’s future to improving digital education in universities and further promoting quality online teaching with concerted efforts under his leadership.
As an outcome of the meeting, the IIOE partners jointly released the “Recommendations on Accelerating the Digital Transformation of Global Higher Education during the COVID-19 Pandemic”. In this document, IIOE’s global partners put forward 12 recommendations in four categories for the digital transformation of higher education institutions in the context of the pandemic, calling on global higher education institutions, education administrators, high-tech enterprises, and all stakeholders to work together to realise the digital transformation of higher education.
The meeting was concluded with the summary speech by Prof. Ming Li, Secretary-General of the IIOE Secretariat and Director of UNESCO-ICHEI, who thanked Ain Shams University, Egypt for its contribution during 2020 Rotating Presidency of IIOE, congratulated University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, Pakistan on its 2021 Rotating Presidency of IIOE, and pointed out that IIOE, through multilateral cooperation with international organisations, universities and enterprises, has established a joint contribution and sharing ecosystem in higher education. In his concluding speech, Prof. Ming Li also reported the plans of IIOE in 2021 to further provide high-quality services, build online education courses, promote the in-depth application and expand the network of partners. Prof. Mahmoud Elmeteini, President of Ain Shams University, Egypt, expressed his appreciation towards Prof. Ming Li and IIOE and announced the successful conclusion of 2020 IIOE Annual General Meeting.