The role of education in the knowledge economy and preparing the education system to cope with the needs of the knowledge economy were discussed during a panel at the fifth Knowledge Summit on December 6, 2018, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
During the session titled “Education: The Cornerstone for Building a Knowledge Economy”, experts spoke of education as a key pillar of productivity and economic competitiveness.
Research shows that 47 per cent of current jobs will cease to exist in the future, which creates a great burden on higher education due to different transformations in the labour market, according to H.E. Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education in the UAE. “How do you prepare students to adapt themselves in the future?” H.E. Belhoul asked. “There is also scepticism regarding the importance of education, and university degrees are not seen as important as they were 10 to 15 years ago.”
“We are focusing on how to redefine knowledge in the knowledge economy because the idea of knowledge has changed,” said Jeff Utecht, Founder and CEO of Eduro Learning. “One of the statistics that stood out to me is that by 2030, 40 per cent of all workers will be self-employed or entrepreneurs, and we are preparing students for that world. We have to rethink what we mean by knowledge.”
Meanwhile, according to Ken Mayhew, Emeritus Professor of Education and Economic Performance and Emeritus Fellow of Pembroke College in Oxford, getting the educational system correct may be a necessary condition for economic success but it is not a sufficient condition. “There is a real issue of educating people well but making sure there is a match with what employers want in terms of the skills they need,” he said. “This means you need to integrate your education and training policy with your industrial strategy. There has to be some government intervention.”
A knowledge economy should lead to more productivity, development and resource creation. For Dr. Fatima Al Shamsi, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs at PSUAD, that requires an eco-system that is motivating, incentivising and supporting. “This system has to support education and skills development,” she said. “It has to be made available to people to create human resources and a workforce that would cultivate this knowledge and use it.”
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) welcomed a host of influential international speakers at the Summit on December 5-6, 2018, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.