Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Education Minister Azzam Al-Dakhil has spoken of a new education policy which emphasizes the importance of harmonizing admission policies in universities with the needs of the labor market.
Al-Dakhil made these remarks during a meeting with university rectors in Riyadh on Wednesday, a local publication reported.
The minister urged universities to speed up admission and registration procedures in a timely manner.
He emphasized the importance of the future of the nation and its people saying: “We are responsible for education from the kindergarten level all the way through higher education at graduate or postgraduate level.”
He said radical changes would take place in higher education in accordance with policies that will focus on work issues without disregarding the importance of education.
He thanked the university rectors for their efforts in the admission and registration process and emphasized the importance of transparency.
The admission policies, Al-Dakhil said, should take into account the importance of harmonization between such policies and the needs of the labor market.
The recent program launched by the joint efforts of the Ministries of Education and Labor dubbed, “Education and Work,” aims at harmonizing the outputs of higher education and training with the needs and demands of the private sector.
A source was quoted as saying that the program is all-encompassing with an increase in demand for medical and health disciplines, technical and industrial engineering, business and accounting, financial and administrative studies, hospitality and travel in addition to computer and information systems. This data was provided based on a thorough survey which included 28 local universities.
“Efforts are being exerted currently to activate and establish relevant departments in local universities by establishing a database for graduates to link them with companies and the private sector. Graduates will have access to this database to help them find suitable jobs, and to provide them with the necessary skills to develop their abilities and competences to meet the demands of the labor market,” said Al-Dakhil.
Hail University, for example, recently established such a department to improve the communication process with them.
Khalid Al-Saif, chairman of the Hail Chamber of Commerce and Industry, praised the “Education and Work” program. “The private sector aspires to employ local skilled and competent manpower which is what the new program is designed to produce,” said Al-Saif.
Sharei Al-Bugami, spokesman for King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, said the program aims to match education and training outputs with the needs of the private sector.
“Universities used to send employees on scholarships to fill the gap in the labor market,” he said. “Also, the majority of government and private sector firms used to employ youths and then send them on scholarships to study the required specializations. But now the program will ensure the needs of the labor market are met by the required specialties.”
© Arab News 2015
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