For Emiratisation to succeed, education must suit the market

UAE’s quest for offsetting as many imbalances as possible in the composition of its population and workforce has always inspired the country’s socio-economic development strategies. In order to empower Emiratis higher education.

The UAE’s huge investments to prepare new generations to serve as the backbone for a robust private-sector economy. But  media debates have revealed, Emirati job-seekers are told that they need further training to cope with market challenges. This can be addressed by having colleges demonstrate more conformity to accreditation standards and make their program offerings more aligned with evolving market priorities.

Emiratisation has been a central feature of successive development strategies launched at UAE federal and local levels. In 2002, the UAE Cabinet approved a master plan for job Emiratisation .

In the past two years  local players have proven to be quite effective in enabling more Emiratis to gain access to an expatriate-dominated private sector. Some local organizations are taking an aggressive Emiratisation strategy .The SIB program aims to recruit and train Emiratis at the entry level to ultimately develop a team of professional bankers. The Abu Dhabi Emiratisation Council has helped to create hundreds of new vacancies for Emiratis. The Tawteen program is another initiative that aims to bring together four major: government, private sector, civil society and academia. Tanmia another organization has recently enabled large numbers of Emirati job seekers to find jobs in different UAE-based private businesses.

For its part, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has been a key player in realizing the country’s Emiratisation targets. A central goal for the next three years is to create closer alignment between higher education and market and community needs in the UAE. Since 2000 it has licensed 55 institutions and accredited 356 programs .It demands evidence that the programs that are seeking accreditation are relevant for UAE society and their launch would contribute to the country’s development. It also ensures by concrete assessment procedures.

Accreditation standards help agencies to assist in academic program developments. It also calls for the implementation of advanced teaching and learning practices conducive to quality outcomes.

The role of institutions is likely to generate further debates as it reveals  a growing divide between the classroom and the market. Only a convergence between university and market visions will give sustainability to the country’s Emiratisation endeavors.


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