Posted on November 18, 2018

Recently Year 6 students in Al Maha Academy for Boys had the honour of speaking to Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Microsoft Education, via Microsoft video-link. This 48-hour event helped raise funds benefitting up to 35,000 children in need as a response to UN Sustainable Goal of Quality Education.

The Al Maha Academy Year 6 students had been selected by the Microsoft executive for a special call last November 14, and the boys were very excited! They are among the schools from 102 countries who joined this 48-hour fund raiser with WE Charity. A lot of work had gone into preparing for the important event with class teacher Mohammed Ali and Upper Primary Coordinator Rukshana Begum supporting students for the big day.

During the rehearsal, two students from 6A echoed prevailing feelings of the class: anticipation and anxiety. Abdulaziz Hamad said, “I am excited that we are going to see and talk to Mr Anthony.” “I am nervous,” said classmate Hamad. “AMAB is honoured to interact with no less than Mr Salcito himself,” said Shuja Uddin, Principal, who saw for himself the class interacting with the Microsoft executive. “This distinction affirms our hard work to give our boys a well-rounded education, and part of it is being technologically savvy,” Shuja added.

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As part of the 30-minute video call, Mubarak Salem, one of the students, served as host as the classmates put on a display of Qatari dance and culture, reciting a Qatari poem and presenting a traditional Qatari dance for Salcito, before asking him some questions about his life, his inspirations and experiences. The boys learnt a lot about Salcito’s career, his love of learning and for technology and the way that technology expanded his horizons as a young boy, offering him a gateway to the world – something Ta’allum students embrace with their work on global citizenship.

Fittingly, at the end of the call, one of the students, Omar Abu Qadah, bid Mr Salcito and his colleague farewell by saying goodbye in a number of languages. The video-call was a memorable experience for all and one that will surely inspire students to continue to embrace twenty-first century learning with technology and motivate them to succeed in the future. Ahmed Al-Mannai, Ta’allum CEO, and Dr Mohammed Saefan, Ta’allum Director of Education, also hailed the virtual meeting. The CEO thinks this rare experience will be etched in the minds of the students. He said, “I hope they will be inspired, and in the future one of them will reach Mr Salcito’s stature.”

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Dr Saefan, looking at the big picture, said, “We continue to carve a niche in Qatar with our contribution to the country’s goal of promoting a knowledge-based economy for its citizens in the 21st Century.” Al Maha Academy for Boys is one of only a handful of Microsoft showcase schools in Doha, along with the other two Ta’allum Education Group of Schools, Al Jazeera Academy and Al Maha Academy for Girls. Already this year two of Ta’allum academies’ staff were made Microsoft fellows. (One is Ahmed Sami, AMAB Virtual Learning Co-ordinator, and he worked alongside the students to get the online video meeting event up and running. In addition, many other teachers and students use a range of Microsoft technology to enhance teaching and learning.