Higher education's "greatest challenge" is meeting UAE business needs

There will be a problem, if skills students possess when leaving universities are unsuitable for the workplace: expert
Higher education's
By zara khan
Tue 11 Apr 2017 03:23 PM

The UAE’s rapidly evolving business goals will present the country’s education sector with “the greatest challenge” it has faced in the next three to five years, says the leading education reformer from the US.

Dr Michal Crow is in Dubai today ahead of delivering a keynote speech at an education summit organised by KSA government in Riyadh tomorrow.

As the UAE moves away from oil reliant business, he said the role higher education will play in that success will be vital.

“Universities in the UAE are evolving rapidly and making significant progress in being a key part of life in the Middle East – something that is recognised around the world.

“However, the business goals are really changing at the same time and that is what will present the greatest challenge from universities in Dubai and across the emirates," he said.

“It is not about making progress over ten years. The challenges are immediate and unless the skills that students leaving universities are suitable for the workplace there will be a problem.

“But looking at higher education in the UAE, I am certain they are on the right track – the qualifications are giving people the skills to step into real jobs and it is going to be fascinating to look at how higher education here develops.”

Dr Crow is the President of Arizona State University – the institution that was recently named the leader in the US for innovation and boasts one of the most multi-cultural campuses in the States.

“Globally, the nature of the work place is shifting," he said. "More and more jobs are being done by machines and people are being replaced by Artificial Intelligence. Systems have to be put in place at universities to ensure students are adaptable to this changing workplace.

“Universities need to move towards a model of teaching students to have skills that these machines don’t have and that means adapting to the situation around them.

“Universities must become highly innovative and focus on a trajectory of change, whereby someone doesn’t just study engineering, for example, but also a multitude of subjects and skills to prepare them for the workplace and life-long education.”

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