Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Business calls for better education in Arab world :: MENAFN

Read the whole article.

Here are some excerpts:

Unemployment is a major problem facing countries in the region. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the jobless rate stands at 9.6 per cent, while in Bahrain and Oman, respectively, 16.6 per cent and 15 per cent of the populations are unemployed. And the educational systems in the region are doing little to give students the skills with which to avoid joblessness. "They are based on memorisation rather than problem solving and creative solutions", said Gabr. He argues that there is a disconnect between the education curriculum and the requirements of the labour market, forcing businesses to waste a lot of effort and time on on-the-job training. . . .

Even though all the Gulf states have imposed legal quotas for companies to hire local nationals, companies tend to complain that nationals cost more and work less hard than expatriates. Metin Mitchell, managing director for the Middle East with Korn/Ferry International, a recruitment consultancy that headhunts for top management posts, said fostering a strong work ethic among Gulf nationals is more important than education. That's important, he said, because "burgeoning economies thrive when people work long and hard." But Mitchell said employers are also concerned with the rote learning educational systems of the Gulf, especially in Saudi Arabia, which emphasise memorisation rather than reasoning. . . .

Observers note that Arab education woes are so grave that in a small country like Bahrain, which is considered to have a more advanced education system than its neighbours, persistently high unemployment is still mostly attributed to an inadequately educated workforce. Officials from the Bahrain National Competitiveness Council said recently that the country's primary and secondary schools need a sweeping overhaul of curricula, teachers, management and physical infrastructure. . . .

Bahrain's default in education is being reflected even among its affluent fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman. . . .

(Dow Jones)

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