The Economic Times defines Professional Development as “all types of learning opportunities like academic degrees, conferences and non-formal learning opportunities. This element of education is for the people who are interested in lifelong learning, besides improving professional competence, keep learning new technologies and enhancing career growth.”
With its growing importance and impact on the overall global economy, professional development is becoming a ‘must-have’ element for every aspirational individual who aims to make it large in the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) business environment.
This sudden rise of awareness and demand of career enhancement solutions hence brings us to think about how the Emirates is performing against leading developed countries in terms of long term education and professional development?
Here are some fast facts and figures that give a better insight into the status of formal and beyond exam education within UAE:
Saudi Arabia continues to dominate the QS ranking of universities in the Arab Region, with 19 of the top 100 universities in the latest edition, including three of the top four. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also does well – especially in relation to the size of its population – with 13 universities in the ranking
UAE universities score particularly well on the measures of internationalization, with 12 institutions on the top score for international students. 9 measures are used in the ranking, including web visibility, volume of research papers/faculty member, faculty/student ratio, citations/faculty, polling of academics and employers (40%) and employer reputation. QS designed its rankings to assess performance according to what it believes to be key aspects of a university's mission: teaching, research, nurturing employability, and internationalization
When Khaleej Times polled more than 100 expatriates to figure out just how confident they were in UAE universities, 72 per cent of respondents said they would "not encourage their child to study at a university here. While 39 per cent said cost was a huge factor, claiming tuition fees were "too expensive"
The UAE is not yet in the top 100 world universities list in scientific research
Employers have complained that graduates of the country’s colleges and universities lack required skills
Despite a strategic commitment from the government to promote STEM subjects and encourage more program diversity, the ﬁeld of Business and Economics remains popular for university graduates, followed by Engineering, Education and IT
Several reforms are needed- supplementing self-reporting with campus visits by the accreditation commission; raising the minimum qualifications for teaching staff; and guarantees of academic freedom. Also needed is harmonization of the three existing quality assurance mechanisms: the federal ministry’s accreditation commission; accreditation agencies set up by Abu Dhabi and Dubai as well as a University Quality Assurance International Board that provides very weak oversight of institutions in the free zones.
Higher education quality in the UAE made some gains in recent years as the authorities have taken steps to strengthen oversight. In 2016, the Federal Ministry of Higher Education put three more private universities on probation. They join two other private universities that are barred from enrolling new students due to various shortcomings.
A lot has been accomplished in the four short decades since higher education began in the UAE. Developing] a culture of Ph.D. study and research is a matter of evolution and we should see much more in 10 to 15 years. It took Harvard one hundred years to get out of just divinity, and start doing academic research
In summary, despite of being ranked highly for university education there is a clear disconnect between the need, demand and supply of education which spans beyond formal schooling as well as exams.
There is also scarcity of resources/vendors in the country who possess the depth and width of expertise while maintaining the quality in delivering professional development solutions.
At Kaplan Genesis we follow a double helix approach to professional development. We believe improving decision-making by developing both Behavioural Confidence and Technical Competence is the very DNA of great leadership. Our programs deliver the right mix of behavioural and technical development throughout to drive performance and produce results.
Kaplan Genesis is part of the global Kaplan family- the world’s largest diverse educator established for over 75 years.