Eduware, the leading provider and integrator of comprehensive technology-based learning products and services in the MENA region, said today that 21st century education is inevitable and should undergo a paradigm shift to prepare children for the jobs that have not yet been invented. The company, which will be addressing challenges facing educators, parents and businesses at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum taking place in Dubai on February 22nd and 23rd, said that the new generation has to be armed with a different set of skills than their parents did if they were to enter the emerging job market. With 3.8 per cent of the region’s GDP, or US$96 Billion, government spend on education a year; this is not an unattainable undertaking, according to Eduware.
The rapidly changing world will create new jobs and make some others obsolete, and technology can assist today’s children make the leap into the job market of the future. The educational ecosystem should undergo a comprehensive reform, with innovation, creativity and collaboration set at its heart and technology as its platform. Technology is creating new jobs that are complex and require innovative and creative thinking. A World Bank study estimated that around 20 percent of the labor market in the region will be related to internet and technology industries in 2020.
Khaled Raouda, Acting General Manager at Eduware said: "A recent study found that 65% of today’s kids will do jobs that have not yet been invented. The world is changing rapidly, creating needs for self-education and continual lifelong learning. In today’s job market, employers want to hire and work with multi-talented people who have a variety of skill sets, a record of continual learning achievement and a digital portfolio that demonstrates their competence, creativity and forward-thinking.”
The Arab region has one of the highest rates of population growth in the world as well as the highest youth unemployment rate globally at over 25 percent. These figures will continue to add pressure on the labor market over the coming years, as the new generation of young people will keep entering the region’s workforce. Tackling the unemployment challenge will require a focus on ensuring youth have the right skills for the jobs newly created.
“Technology in education can make the difference between boom or bust,” said Khaled Raouda, “but deployed properly, resources can guide the region to wide-reaching prosperity. Every year four million students enrol in basic education in the Arab region. Today there are about 11.1 million students in the GCC region, and this figure is expected to grow to 11.6 million by 2016. With a global average of 25 percent of children under five using the Internet, one in four teens (23%) having a tablet computer and nine in ten (93%) teens having a computer or having access to one at home, the technology-enabled economic transformation is at our doorstep.”
Governments in the region have realised the importance of this seismic shift in education and are allocating serious budgets to move into 21st Century education. In Saudi Arabia, the government has earmarked US$22 billion to improve K12 education, UAE allocated 21% of its federal budget on education last year, or US$2.6 billion. The education sector in the MENA region is estimated to be worth US$96 Billion by 2015, with the GCC region alone consisting of US$61 billion of this. The private education market in the MENA region is estimated to be a total of US$11.2 billion, with the share of the GCC region set at US$5.5 billion.
Eduware will be presenting at the Microsoft in Education Global Forum its 21st Century edu-digital tools for capturing and compiling the analytics for school decision-making and methodologies for acquiring ideal skills to prepare the new generation to navigate the challenging job market of the future.
Looking ahead, it is estimated that almost 50% of the current jobs in existence will become automated. Data shows that routine, cognitive but middle-income jobs are rapidly disappearing or up-skilling. Meanwhile, non-routine creative and analytical jobs in design, marketing, research and engineering are on the rise. To prepare students for the future, Eduware offers schools a basket of tools that help them engage students in rigorous learning and prepare them to ask the right questions.
Khaled El Sharif, Director of Business Affairs of Eduware, said: “With a focus on schooling development and improvement, we have designed an ICT solution with an exciting range of products and services that makes learning more relative for students and encourages the development of required skills. Educational institutions should modernise the methods of schooling by incorporating such tools which will help in personalising and managing education for all including students with special needs.”