GCC governments need to ensure that educational systems are equipping students with skills that enable their countries to build diversified, knowledge-based economies, said a report.
Deloitte’s new whitepaper titled ‘Education – Middle East Public Sector national necessities’ tackles the challenges that Middle East and GCC governments are facing in education reform.
With a fast growing population in the GCC countries, with close to 60 per cent below 30 years old, the public sector is unable to sufficiently absorb school and university graduates as it could in the past, said the report.
The paper particularly focused on GCC countries where expatriates make up the biggest proportion of the private sector workforce in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, while Emiratis make up more than half the public sector.
“The need to diversify employment choices explains why many GCC governments are implementing major reforms, including new curricula, improved teaching standards, increased professional freedom and enhanced use of information and communications technology (ICT) to prepare young people for wider employment opportunities,” said Abdelhamid Suboh, consulting partner and public sector leader at Deloitte Middle East.
Richard Barrett, director in consulting at Deloitte Middle East, said: “Helping young people understand the options open to them through effective careers advice and guidance is essential. Treating teachers as the skilled professionals they are and supporting them to develop more flexible teaching styles and make creative use of technology should continue and increase.”
The whitepaper provided recommendations on skills-based education reform to support the moves underway in GCC countries aiming to develop world-class education to help meet the skills challenge.
They include raising the teaching standards and helping teachers manage change; preparing students for progression; making greater use of ICT to increase the ability of learners; increasing tertiary education enrolment and promoting technical and vocational education; and bringing all stakeholders on board from the beginning of reforms and provide strong leadership.
“It is only by having a highly skilled workforce that GCC countries will keep a competitive edge as the war for global talent accelerates. In terms of demand for education services, a growing national population as well as more expatriates attracted to the region mean that the education sector is set for continued strong growth in demand,” concluded Barrett.