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Higher education in gulf countries - Essay Example

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Institutes of higher learning are the strongholds of academic, economic, cultural, scientific and societal life for the universal community. These duties build enormous force on institutions of higher learning to…
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Gulf countries’ higher education The tasks for higher learning nowadays are immensely grown. Institutes of higher learning are the strongholds of academic, economic, cultural, scientific and societal life for the universal community. These duties build enormous force on institutions of higher learning to proactively place themselves n the leading edge of planned adjustment and innovation (Taylor & Machado-Taylor, 2010)
The development of any state totally relies on the degree it acquires in structuring and build up its human resources. Higher learning signifies one of the most significant ways of developing human resources which in turn is deemed as strategic venture for any nation. Through higher learning schedule, each country manages to meet its wants of eligible and trained labor forces which labor market wants and which its state development requires. Higher education universally experiences many of the adjustments, transformations and problems imposed by technical and information developments of the modern evolution.
More so the future development and constancy of any financial system is determined by the capability of its education scheme to position people with the essential knowledge and effectively incorporate them into the labor force and contribute to the state’s economy. To perfect, education has often been viewed as a fundamental component of human well fare and national output.
Gulf states is a suitable short name for the Arab states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the united emirates in and Saudi Arabia. Gulf nations are associates of the collaboration council for the Arab countries of the gulf. These states are usually called gulf cooperative countries. The Gulf States are known to have a common regional culture. Although their status quo and rate of development differ, these states share similar features that exemplify their economic and education sectors for instance overreliance on oil, a dominant public sector with an important economic surplus, a young and quickly growing national labor force and overdependence on expatriate labor. These sate also face similar problems to put up with for example they face difficulties in expanding their economies, addressing low production and labor force setbacks, increasing the non-oil private sector, and improving the ability of managerial and public sector organizations.
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Several years ago, most third world countries especially the Arab Gulf States have come to discover a good education scheme as a basis of the economic progress. The necessity for the education reformation in the Arab world has been marked through several proposals targeted to improve the worthiness and measure of education more so with an increasing young population that represents a larger portion in many states in the Arab world. Recent years have experienced many Arab nations making efforts to develop and put into practice complete education reform programs that can lead to a trained, knowledge-based labor force alongside socioeconomic goals.
Golf cooperation countries have currently focused on education sector, therefore these countries are rapidly and hugely expanding and transforming education as concentration is on the quality and class of education. These gulf countries have come to realize the significance of education function and culture in harmonizing the relations between and among these countries. A growing portion of government expenditure is being directed to constructing new institutes of learning starting with primary to tertiary ones and institutions of higher learning. For instance, according to Essa. P, Saudi Arabia registered the highest contribution to education development industry in Middle East and ranked eight worldwide. Strong government budgets have accompanied general education development in order to emphasize continuous government s back up. Over SR145 billion of the budget have been assigned to education, human funds and knowledge expansion in the first year 2011 that is about a quarter of the entire budget expenditure. The number of varsities have quickly increased and this corresponds to the number of students; enrolment. From the look of things, the Saudi Arabia forecast 2013 reveals the number of students’ admission in higher education tends to rise to 9% between 2010-2014.
Report by UNESCO 1998 states that the gulf nations have powerfully insisted on teamwork and contribution to improve value of their education. They stress quality research quality and international university competition. Gulf countries have come up with strategies for their education systems to acquire better education both locally and internationally. Future plans have been proposed by their ministries of higher education through common goals which are; addressing the demand of the labor force., secondly, increasing number of graduates in highly demanded disciplines. The third goal is to support higher social participation, fourthly to enhance quality assurance in management and delivery, adopting a variety of funding schemes for education and finally giving opportunities for private, for profit and non-profit, support and management of education institutions.
Issues and challenges of higher education in Arab gulf states
Low performance is a key challenge to these countries. This problem is based on the global status, non-integration of education curriculum and processes and lack of dimensions in culture in education process. Inadequate education leadership is another major challenge as this affects preparation, efficiency, There is also limited participation in regard to society and institutions of education. Poor quality of education is a problem to their countries as it is difficult to maintain global standards. More attention has been paid to humanities at the expense of mathematics and sciences. Provision of the essential knowledge and skills to students to enable them fit into the labor market still remains a problem as there exist a divergence between the labor market requirement and the fresh graduates. This has a posed a problem to these countries as employment is also an issue at hand. Gulf countries have a shortage of qualified tutors mainly to private school managers to maintain the high quality of education. Strict regulations of the government scare off investors who get it rough to acquire permits. These force abroad inventors enter into treaties with local education providers in Saudi Arabia. As much as these countries are performing so well economically they still do not meet the desired high quality of research and development. The strict demand for the quality of education creates a gap between the demand for human capital and supply of the skills to local work force.
Nevertheless these nations have developed ways to curb these problems. First they have introduced subjects such science, technology and business and this is made possible through establishment of research centers.. Sponsorship is one of the ways to building better qualified national workforce with a purpose of expanding knowledge and restoring overrepresentation of emigrants in private sector.
Exchange programs and collaboration with well developed varsities is an initiative by the Gulf States to provide a variety of courses and levels to equip students with essential skills and knowledge into the labor market. For instance the United Arab Emirates and Qatar are currently taking steps to develop their higher learning and research and development. Integrated programs have been initiated under the umbrella of Qatar foundation for education, for instance the education city program, national research fund and Qatar science and Technology Park. The main aim behind all this is link private academic and government sectors. Like the education city is an association of universities and centers for research where by top performing universities have been invited to initiate their best programs. The numbers of institutions being accredited have and are still on increase. Now there are about 40 accredited ones and 16 new established ones in free locations like the knowledge village in Dubai
Pollock M.(1998) A Model for Education Reform in the Arabian Gulf. London: Routledge.
Taylor, J. S., & Machado-Taylor, M. (2010). Leading Strategic Change in Higher Education: The Need for a Paradigm Shift toward Visionary Leadership
The GCC in 2020 available in this link
GCC Education Repot available in this link
Facing Human Capital Challenges of the 21st Century (book ) available in this link
Building Research Capacity in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries available in this link
United Nations Development Programme, Arab Human Development Report: Building a Knowledge Society, New York, N.Y.: UNDP, Regional Bureau for Arab States, 2003.
Qatar: A Model for Education Reform in the Arabian Gulf
By Michelle Pollock
ES Project Coordinator, Middle East
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