By Andy Sambidge
Edexcel says region has to change its perceptions of skills required for the job market
Edexcel, the UK-based global qualifications provider, said on Saturday that the Arab world has to change its perceptions of skills required for the job market.
The company, which is part of Pearson, the world's largest provider of education services, said that the governments of the region should look at how well the employment and training needs of employers are being met by existing education and training systems.
Mark Andrews, regional director, Middle East/North Africa/Caribbean, Edexcel, said: "There is still a great deal of work to be done to propagate a more inspirational image of skills in the Arab world.
"It is vital for countries to share experiences and lessons learned in order to identify mutual challenges, seek out opportunities for collaboration, and imaginatively explore ways in which the perception of skills-based education can be improved to reflect the reality of the importance of this kind of education."
Edexcel offers academic and professional qualifications and testing to thousands of schools, colleges, and employers globally.
Andrews added: "This gap between the supply and demand sides of education is becoming more and more intense as countries across the world are suffering from the impact of the current economic downturn."
Andrews added: "It is becoming increasingly important for workers to have the right attitude, a willingness to learn and an understanding of how to conduct themselves at the workplace. These are the qualities that our education systems should instill in our students before they are placed in jobs.
"In countries like Egypt, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia, where there is a large segment of young job-seekers, it makes sense for governments to give greater importance to skills development, rather than just university degrees."
Edexcel recommends that schools, colleges, local governments and businesses work together to collectively promote, and ensure that learners gain, the qualities valued and considered essential by employers.
Such long-term collaborations will ensure that skills gaps such as those that currently exist will not recur in the future, Andrews said.
The unemployment rate in the GCC was forecast to rise to 10.5 percent in 2010, according to a report published last year by recruitment company TalentRepublic.net, rising from 8.8 percent in 2009.
The report added that government led initiatives were needed to encourage entrepreneurship and provide small-scale investment opportunities for unemployed citizens and fresh graduates.
It also called for the government to encourage private educational institutions to implement training schemes to help unemployed citizens and new graduates gain access to the jobs market.
I can understand why this is an important decision by the government. I agree with the fact that training and education are very important to the present day job market. A sort of supply and demand. A university education is a wonderful thing, providing that the studies are in line with the present job market. A university degree is useless if one has not been applying their studies for the jobs available upon graduation.
I applaud this new era of thinking and understanding.
tjis is only my opinion and no reflection or direspect is intended.