International Keynote Speakers

Dr Gabrielle Matters

Dr Gabrielle Matters is a consultant in the field of educational assessment. She specializes in the design and review of assessment systems, the role and functions of assessment institutions, comparative studies of curriculum content and achievement standards, and the overlap of the academic (technical) with the political domain. Dr Matters holds a science degree from The University of Queensland and a PhD in the field of educational testing from the Queensland University of Technology. She has been intensely interested in educational assessment throughout her career as classroom teacher (physical sciences); school administrator; government policy advisor; designer and analyst of tests, examinations and school-based assessments; university lecturer; researcher, scholar and author.

Dr Matters is an adjunct professor at the Queensland University of Technology, a previous Executive Secretary of the International Association for Educational Assessment, and a recipient of the Australian Government’s centenary of federation medal.

Together with Professor Geoff Masters (CEO of ACER), Gabrielle reviewed senior assessment and university entrance processes for the Queensland Government (2013−2014). A new system based on the recommendations of that review is to be implemented by 2019.

Gabrielle’s interests include music, architecture, antiques, reading, cricket, personalities in politics, the human genome, and the beach. Gabrielle has worked in Pakistan on three occasions – in Lahore (2006 and 2012) and Islamabad (2016), and considers those projects to be highlights of her work.

Dr. Zawawi Ismail

Dr.Zawawi Ismail is an Associate Professor and currently, Deputy Dean and Quality Manager at Faculty of Education, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He received his Bachelor Degree in Arabic Language & Literature (Major), Shariah (Minor) from Yarmouk University, Jordan, Post Graduate Diploma of Education from International Islamic University Malaysia, Master in Arabic Education and obtained his Ph.D in the field of Education from National University of Malaysia 2008. His research interests include Arabic & Islamic Education Curriculum, Teacher Education, Muslim Minority Education, and Quranic Language Education. He has published more than 40 articles in international and national journals, 15 books and 60 articles in other publications. Dr. Zawawi has contributed a lot to the society and he is also active in several NGOs and one of the founders of Yayasan As-Syafie which is focusing in developing Islamic Boarding School in Cambodia and other educational activities in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Dr John Buchanan

Dr John Buchanan is an associate professor in social and environmental education at the University of Technology Sydney, where he also coordinates international and engagement programs. His doctoral thesis examined the readiness of Australian students and teachers to pursue studies of Asia. His teaching and research interests include sustainability, intercultural education, and teacher quality, attrition and retention. He is a past President of the New South Wales Institute for Educational Research.

John is currently a member of the UTS STEM Education Futures Research Centre.


Dr. Naziha Ali Raza

Corporate Learning & development Specialist, Emirates Aviation College, UAE TESOL Arabia President, 2015-2016

Dr. Naziha Ali Jafri is a Learning & Development Specialist at Emirates Airlines in UAE where she combines English Language teaching with Corporate training aligned to business needs for staff. She was the first Pakistani to hold office of TESOL Arabia President (2015-2016) and the co-chair of the annual conference 2016.

Dr Jafri holds a Doctorate from the University of Exeter, UK specializing in the Continuous Professional Development of Teachers. Her development interests include learning evaluation and teacher development. She has done a significant amount of work on in-house evaluation processes and also contributed immensely to teacher development in UAE and Pakistan through association with organisations such as TESOL Arabia, VistaBrainz and VistaConsult. In 2006, she was awarded by His Highness Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan (an esteemed member of the UAE Royal Family and the patron of TESOL Arabia) for her contributions to teacher development. Her work is published on the University of Exeter's web portal and in TESOL Arabia publications.

Dr. Jafri has also served as Vice President -Education of the TESOL Arabia Toastmasters Club and is a Board member of MENA Extensive Reading Foundation. She is currently involved in multiple teacher training projects in Pakistan contributing extensively to teacher development through the ARJ Trust in Wazirabad.

Abstract of the Keynote Address

In current times of transition, education is the key to 'development', which is impossible without teachers regardless of whether they are in educational establishments or in the workplace or in life. A necessary impact of education is therefore, its ‘sustainability’ in contemporary times as well as times to come and the capability to evolve beyond geographical boundaries.

Sustainability is defined in the Cambridge Business English Dictionary as 'the ability to continue at a particular level for a period of time'. (Cambridge University Press)

The United Nations Brundtland Report (1987) defines sustainable development as ‘development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.

These views suggest that the focus is as much on leaders of the process as it is on the drivers of the process, i.e. on both teachers and learners. Following the aim of this conference in looking at ‘sustainability’, this keynote narrows the focus to a very significant component in the system, ‘the development of teachers’ and ‘their ability to lead that development’.

The speaker will review contemporary views on teacher development and highlight how autonomy in leading continuous development is possible through the process of evaluation that maps and measures the journey from start to end and beyond. In elaborating on the essentials of the process of evaluation, the speaker expects to establish an understanding of three levels of evaluation. The audience will leave with an awareness of how the understanding and practice of contemporary evaluation can bear a significant impact on the manner in which teacher development evolves and can be sustained.

Dr. Syed Naeem Ahmed

Head of the Department, Colleges and Institutes Division, Royal Commission, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Dr. Syed Naeem Ahmed is a senior educational program, policy & research expert with 20 years of diversified experience in selected areas of higher education policy making, planning, and management, both at the systems and the institutional levels. Currently, he is the Head of Quality Assurance & Accreditation department at the Colleges & Institutes Division, Royal Commission for Jubail&Yanbu (RCYCI), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Part of the USAID team Pakistan, Dr.Naeem engaged extensively with 22 selected Pakistani Teacher Education departments and thefaculty for improving their research grant programs. As a faculty at Hamdard Institute ofEducation and Social Sciences, Hamdard University Karachi, he designed and conductedprofessional development programs for pre-service & in-service teachers, educational managers,and social workers. His doctoral research work is a situational analysis of quality systems adoptedby various higher education institutions in Pakistan. He has been on board with manyinternational forums in education and research, and published extensively in the areas of hisexpertise.

Abstract of the Keynote Address

In the near future, most information can be delivered to a student at the exact moment in which he/she needs it through electronic publication. Recommendations for learning can go beyond simply knowing what a student was studying in the past. Using trend analysis, educators (who are looking for students' progress and learning outcomes) can constantly analyze, craft the customized contents, and understand students' learning styles and their learning needs inside and outside of the classroom. They can look into how a student becomes most productive at different times of the day, the part of the week, even the holiday season of the year. Through extreme media, educators can collaborate with one another to create effective strategies for student learning. As auto-translated communication is possible, students can discuss world issues with their peers in other parts of the world, hence, combining environment, filtering language, understanding culture, and government, all in just one learning encounter.

Preparing teachers to understand the needs of this future learning scenario is vital as artificial intelligence is taking a central role in society and K-12 education. Teacher technology skill proficiency alone doesn't appear to be enough to facilitate effective integration into teaching practices (Vannatta & Beyerbach, 2000). Being able to orchestrate a student-centered, technology-rich lesson requires much expertise on the part of the teacher (Mills & Tincher, 2003). Introducing artificial intelligence, electronic publication and trend analysis in teacher education content can help educators understand connections between student progress, current technology applications, and its appropriate use

The presentation consists of two parts: The first part provides a quick overview and a vision of the future teaching, and learning scenarios through some video clips of a student whose teachers and parents are using modern technology to enhance her learning and understanding her learning needs. The second part discusses in detail the variety of reforms undertaken in Pakistan to improve pre-service and in-service teacher education and to initiate a dialogue on how these reforms can be taken to a further stage by introducing the latest and upcoming technologies into an effective and sustainable education.