Jeddah, UAE: Dr. Haifa Jamal Al-Lail, the President of the Effat University in Jeddah, gave a virtual lecture at the General Secretariat of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), entitled "Higher Education and COVID-19: Opportunities and Challenges" on January 19, 2021.
Introducing the event, Maha Akeel, the Director of the Family Department at the OIC's General Secretariat, indicated that the lecture is the prelude to a series of other cultural lectures the OIC's General Secretariat plans to hold in its new cultural season 2021. The lecture coincides with the International Day of Education, which falls on January 24 of each year. The lecture highlighted education's role in achieving development, establishing peace, and providing access to quality, equitable, and comprehensive education, learning opportunities, and lifelong learning.
Dr. Haifa began the lecture by asserting that the COVID-19 pandemic had harmed not only the health system but also social life, including work, education, agriculture, and other critical economic aspects, noting that the statistics of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have shown that 1.5 billion female and university students have not been unable to attend their classes in person all over the world since March 23, 2020.
Dr. Haifa pointed out that although the pandemic imposed various challenges and difficulties on higher education, it has motivated those concerned in higher education to consider sustainable alternatives and plans necessary in emergencies to keep the education sector going under all conditions.