Mouhammad Sami Hijab
Graduation year: 2017
Occupation: Volunteer Admissions Specialist, Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon
How is your current work supporting in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic?
I am currently working remotely with the Center of Education, Research, and Development (CRDP), which reports directly to the Minister of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon. I am volunteering with a team of local teachers to develop online lessons for students. This is the first and only distance-learning platform in the country that is free to all students. The lessons are aired across local TV channels and are available online. Around mid-March, the ministry asked local teachers to volunteer to prepare distance-learning material and teams were selected based on members’ backgrounds. I was lucky to join the mathematics team despite being located in Qatar.
What skills and knowledge did you gain at HBKU that have proved essential to your success in your current role?
Other than the obvious technical and practical skills gained at HBKU, I also acquired social and business related skills that are essential to my role. Networking and business etiquette skills were required in communicating effectively in a professional environment, especially while collaborating with decision-makers in the ministry. Also, teamwork and organization skills guided me to adapt quickly to working with new teams to deliver efficient results. Finally, I could not have accomplished my tasks without the self-confidence and continuous support received from my advisors, Professor Gordon Mckay and Dr. Hamich Mackey.
How is the work you are currently involved in contributing to your personal and professional development?
Perhaps the most obvious outcome with such volunteer work is building ties with people in the education sector. However, the current circumstances of COVID-19 made the experience much more challenging and inspiring. For example, the team could not meet on a scheduled basis due to different commitments and other responsibilities. We have had to be flexible and creative in solving the challenges we faced. Also, observing the outcome of our work being presented to all students is extremely rewarding.
Key outcomes and lessons in dealing with the current pandemic that will go on to advance your industry?
Education is a human right and I believe everyone should volunteer if they are able to do so. Our work in providing free online lessons across local TV channels is just one step closer towards providing all students with equal access to education. CRDP launched Lebanon’s first virtual school, which enables all traditional school work to be carried out digitally. This will help in spreading knowledge to all students and empower teachers to enhance the effectiveness of their teaching methods.
What are your future career ambitions?
I am currently working with the enrollment team at HBKU. Also, I am a PhD candidate in the Sustainability Division at the College of Science and Engineering. My short-term goal is to obtain my PhD degree from HBKU. As for my long-term ambition, I hope to continue my career growth in the education sector in a role that enables me to innovate new educational services and methods.