Monday, September 20, 2021

Opinion

OPINION: Time to redefine employment and education

The need of the hour for a country like Oman, which is fast evolving into a modern economy, is to develop an integrated educational system in association with the industry and the educational institutions to create future-ready workforce.

By Reena Abdulrahman

info@thearabianstories.com

Tuesday, September 7, 2021


An employment is the end of education for many. Or in other words most of the people think that they should have some education till they get a job. That’s it! But in a time when the concept of employment and education are changing, it is time for us to redefine education. 

No doubt, the people, educational institutions and even the companies should change their attitude and approach to create more employable workforce and enable people to update them for the ever-evolving and transforming job front.

In the recent times, Oman has embarked on an ambitious mission to ensure more job opportunities to the country’s citizens. But quite often the companies find it difficult to get talented people to suit their requirements.

Why does this happen? In these changing times, there seems to be a huge gap between education and employment. 

Students who pass out of colleges are often not equipped to face the employment requirement, which render them jobless or end up in petty jobs. A coaching in the finishing schools alone cannot upgrade their skills. 

The need of the hour for a country like Oman, which is fast evolving into a modern economy, is to develop an integrated educational system in association with the industry and the educational institutions to create future-ready workforce. 

Since the industrial requirements are changing, in many places the managements find it difficult to get the higher-skilled workforce. On the other hand, many graduates are finding it difficult to get employment. This apparent irony has to be addressed to make the forward journey smoother for the people, companies and the nation as a whole.

First of all we have to develop a far-sighted vision to groom the young students into prospective workforce suiting their individual talent in tune with Oman’s Vision 2040. So, the focus of identifying the talents should begin from the school level and groom them accordingly. A spirit of competitiveness should be instilled among them through the curricular framework, which should not be limited to the textbooks alone. 

There is the need of an integrated approach that blends with the requirement of the times and the projection of the future industry needs. This way, the gap between the workforce and employment can be effectively addressed.

At the next stage, we have to evolve a strategy for higher education to create the workforce. Yes, the institutes of higher education have to ‘create’ the workforce rather than trying to find them, according to the industry experts. The universities and colleges have to design their curriculum and new courses in such a manner as to meet the job requirements in the coming years, and they should develop a tie-up with the industry. 

We have to slowly migrate to the era of workforce education as well, because the workers of the future have to be trained in various areas including digital literacy apart from their core skills. This way, they can update themselves in tune with the change in the technology. Since many institutions offer online courses, the industry players can utilize this possibility to improve the skill levels of their workforce. 

The management should make sure the workers are agile learners, and they should also facilitate the regular training of the workforce to meet the industry requirements. According to George Westerman, a faculty associated with the MIT Sloan School of Management, “We need a new model for employers to help create the workers they need, rather than trying to find them.” MIT has introduced many programmes on ‘Workforce Learning’, which is a major step in chiseling the workforce. 

When the companies introduce short-term programmes in association with the educational institutions for their workforce, it would help upgrade their skills, which would improve their skill level. No doubt, the new age workforce is something that one should not purchase from the market. You have to mold them the way clay is transformed into beautiful sculptures.

About the author: Reena Abdulrahman is the Chief Operating Officer of Alhind Travel and Tours for GCC and Africa. Reena has over 21 years of experience working with top airlines in the region.

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