A society based upon knowledge has become a vital component for a sustainable growth in the economy. The director of research at the World Innovation Summit for Education based in Qatar, Dr. Asmaa Al Fadala, has placed great stress on the role that education is playing and will play in the development of any economy. In accordance to Dr. Al Fadala effective technology, science, mathematics and engineering education is of the utmost importance to have sustainable social and economic growth of the Gulf region in the future. A successful diversification is strongly dependent on the system of education which equips the students with the skills and other vital attributes which enable them to become well rounded and globally competitive individuals, which are also needed in attaining the new goal of the thriving knowledge economies. This statement raises a serious question about the schools here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- Firstly we must ask whether the schools are preparing graduates in order to cater to the demands of the companies which require high skilled, solid, knowledge based and globally aware workforce, which is usually needed in the extremely competitive world of industry and business.
- Are the schools here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia instilling the moral character and work ethics which are needed in the professional world?
- And lastly do these schools focus more on literature, history, geography and other non important subjects, which do not directly or indirectly impact those graduates going into the world of business and industry.
We will have to sooner or later answer these questions and reflect upon the answers we will receive. We must also contemplate whether the Kingdom wants to produce clerks or scientists. In accordance to statistics provided by the World Economic Forum, the Gulf region countries are collectively holders of one of the highest youth unemployment rates on earth. To me, the reasons might include apathy of young people, lack of work ethics and also an ultimate failure of mastering the job requirements of the private sector.
How can we guarantee a prosperous future of this nation without employing our youth and students with the vital skills needed to be employed? Stepping back, I must admit we cannot blame the students at all. The issue of unmotivated and untrained teachers, lacking educational clarity and system and also unequipped schools has been going on for years. Our youth is basically studying in a system which is not encouraging excellence.
A drastic yet positive change is needed, however even with an enormous budget; any changes usually take ages to be implemented. Therefore what is required here is one complete overhaul and modernization of the education system. Stakeholders such as parents, educators, global companies as well as students should be allowed to give their input on the matter. The GCC society must welcome a change in the outlook which comprehends the link between the classroom and the economic opportunities which will be availed by the students in the future.
Source: Saudi Gazette
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