Dubai, UAE: Students will now have better access to quality vocational learning courses designed to meet the requirements of employers with the establishment of a new regulatory body, education chiefs have said.
Dr Abdulla Al Karam, director general of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said the Qualifications and Awards in Dubai (Qad) would encourage students to take up vocational education, which has often been associated with lower skilled and lower paid jobs.
“Technical and vocational education students in Dubai want to know that their qualifications will set them on the right course to start a fulfilling career. Employers want to know that graduates have earned credentials that are quality assured.
“The fact that KHDA will be awarding all technical and vocational education qualifications in Dubai will give graduates and employers the peace of mind that these qualifications will be recognised in the public and private sectors across the UAE.”
The Qad will develop qualifications recognised by the National Qualification Authority and the Vocational Education and Training Awards Council.
Dr Naji Al Mahdi, chief of qualifications and awards at the KHDA, said there would be a greater demand for vocational qualifications and training “as Dubai continues to grow and develop”.
“By offering accredited qualifications we prepare our students for the job market and support the economic and social development of Dubai.”
Like the KHDA does with international branch campuses of universities, the Qad will regulate international bodies operating in Dubai and will license instructors, assessors, internal verifiers and external verifiers within Dubai.
Last year, a study by the auditing firm Deloitte highlighted the critical importance of attracting more people into vocational education because of a skills gap in the emirate’s workforce.
Only 1 to 3 per cent of academic enrolment in the UAE is in vocational education, compared with a global average of 10 per cent. In developed economies like Germany and Japan, it is as high as 40 to 50 per cent.
The study claimed that the UAE would have a manpower gap of 200,000 by the end of this year, with key industries falling short.
Areas found to be lacking were lecturers in management, accountancy and vocational training, among others.
“This is an important step in the right direction in the evolution and maturity of tertiary education in Dubai,” said Dr Senthil Nathan, consultant and co-founder of Edu Alliance.
Melanie Relton, regional vocational education manager for the Middle East and North Africa at the British Council, praised the initiative.
She said: “The establishment of the Qad will drive forward the development of a highly responsive system that will stimulate demand from employers in existing and new occupational sectors and provide a framework of quality to keep qualification standards high and internationally competitive.”
© The National
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