How will students, institutions, and the job market benefit from the UAE’s new educational reforms?
Industry experts react to the restructuring of the UAE’s education industry, including the appointment of a new UAE Minister of Education and the establishment of a new federal authority to govern and develop the sector.
Students in the UAE will be made more future-ready than ever before under the restructured education roadmap as the nation looks to address future economic concerns and develop a competitive global workforce, experts told Arabian Business.
UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced a major restructuring of the education system in the UAE on Sunday, 22 May.
The restructuring included a slew of appointments as well as the establishment of the Federal Authority for Quality and Standards of Education, which will measure educational outcomes, student performance, and the efficiency of the educational process.
The provost and vice-principal at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, Professor Ammar Kaka, said: “The restructuring of the education system in the UAE should result in students from this region being more successful than ever before in the highly competitive global workforce, and we look forward to supporting this development to the best of our abilities.”
Current trends show that the workplace of the future will bear little resemblance to work as it stands today, according to experts.
Prof Kaka added: “We are already seeing some evidence of this change. For example, the growth of careers and jobs which once never existed, the changing profile of the university student of today, and a shift towards lifelong learning rather than just a focus on acquiring a degree.”
Studies show that the global workforce is predicted to grow by 230 million people by 2030.
Additionally, the job market is rapidly changing with approximately two billion jobs predicted to change due to new technology, decarbonisation, and new growth industries.
“An $8.5 billion talent shortage is predicted by 2030,” Prof Kaka warned.
Professor Ammar Kaka, the provost and vice-principal at Heriot-Watt University Dubai
In this context, the ambitions of the UAE can only be met with a stream of educated people who drive its vision, experts opined.
The CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE), Dr Sonia ben Jaafar, said: “The announcement is a critical step toward the UAE Centennial 2071 plan, which recognises that excellent quality of education is a key pillar of a successful society.
“The new structure will promote alignment in ensuring educational outcomes that meet future economic development needs. It is commendable to see the continued transformative vision of our leadership and the efforts that are being taken towards steering the system to better address the times we live in and for a sustainable future.”
The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) specifically focuses on support systems and programmes that address challenges on the ground, alongside its partners, through customised and evidence-based solutions.
Dr Sonia added: “We welcome the new direction and look forward to lending our unwavering support in strengthening the education system and developing youth equipped to drive growth and sustainable development in the country.”
Dr Sonia ben Jaafar, CEO of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE)
Within a set of high-level appointments as part of the restructured education system, Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi has been appointed as the Minister of Education. He will review all legislations and policies related to the education system in the UAE.
Meanwhile, Sarah Al Amiri will become the Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and the Chairwomen of the Emirates Schools Establishment. She has been directed to develop a comprehensive plan to upgrade public schools in the country.
The CEO of Cuemath, Vivek Sunder, said: “As the UAE government takes on restructuring the Ministry of Education, daisy-chaining across three crucial categories including access, equity, and the outcome is critical for unleashing potential.
“The restructuring will encourage us educators and the wider stakeholders to bring about transformation by building an education roadmap and actively get involved with development of policies or services that impact us, and most importantly, the younger generation we serve.”
The evolution of education and the gap between traditional education and modern education is creating a contrast of opinions.
Sunder explains: “On one hand, students and parents are looking at education as an investment and something that will give them a decent return on their investment. On the other hand, the job market is doubting the quality of “product” that higher education is producing, as they are not “industry ready”.
“The impact of restructuring in our view will be progressive as governments and stakeholders will now have to think more creatively and innovate to bring about alternative and more appropriate solutions to the educational needs for the future.”
Sunder concluded: “It will also be essential to create a sense of urgency for bold action to inspire action, explore new opportunities, and develop holistic models of learning and designs that are different and more suitable, even if we then must challenge the traditional ways of working.
“In the post-crisis world, governments that can adjust their skills landscapes and strengthen the future-readiness of their human capital will be able to unlock labour market opportunities and demonstrate that they can be leaders rather than followers.”
Source : Arabian Business