Higher Education System – The Weakest Link of MENA’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Higher Education System – The Weakest Link of MENA's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

  • Education & training, and the role of universities in developing entrepreneurs – both key pillars of an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem – are the least developed in the Middle East & Africa, as per entrepreneurs trying to grow their companies in the region.
  • The higher education system in the region is public and controlled by the political class, thereby denying universities the necessary academic freedom to breed next generation entrepreneurs.
  • Courses specific to developing communication and presentation skills of young graduates and future entrepreneurs are missing, and the brain drain following the Arab Spring has further depleted the quality of the region’s graduating workforce.
The higher education system in MENA is the weakest link of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. This seems to be the key takeaway of a recent report by the World Economic Forum that compares the Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Around the Globe. As per the report, entrepreneurs worldwide view accessible markets, funding & finance, and human capital & workforce as the three most important pillars when it comes to the growth of their companies.
And while Middle East & Africa (MEA) is better placed as compared to other in emerging markets like Asia and South America in terms of market accessibility and access to funding, the region has the least developed human capital workforce among all the regions, required for the development and growth of a successful entrepreneurial ecosystem. And the reason is not very hard to find.
Education & training, and the role of universities in developing entrepreneurs, both key pillars of an effective ecosystem, are the least developed in the MEA as per entrepreneurs trying to grow their companies in the region. Therefore, it is not surprising that the region has the least developed human capital workforce worldwide, and human capital is cited as the biggest challenge to growth by entrepreneurs in MEA.
Higher Education System – The Weakest Link of MENA's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem1
Source: World Economic Forum – Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Around the Globe and Company Growth Dynamics
Entrepreneurs were asked to identify which of the eight pillars of an entrepreneurial ecosystem were readily available to them as they built their venture.
Most of the higher education system in the region is public and controlled by the political class, thereby denying universities the necessary academic freedom to breed next generation entrepreneurs. Education is a political topic in the region and the recent Arab Spring has only heightened the scrutiny faced by the academia as the political class tries to maintain its control over the content and pedagogy.
As a result, universities are denied the intellectual and academic freedom to develop degrees and content aimed at covering key subjects core to creating a successful business (such as business planning and risk management), with coursework consisting of specialised seminars in which students create business plans to be presented to angel investors or venture capitalists.
Courses specific to developing communication and presentation skills of young graduates and future entrepreneurs are missing. A May 2013 report – Unlocking Arab Youth Entrepreneurship Potential – by entrepreneurship training NGO Injaz al Arab highlighted that schools in the region are schools are focused on rote learning and memorisation rather than problem solving and critical thinking, and that CEOs in the region felt that the education system does not provide graduates with the necessary skills like communication, presentation, teamwork, analytical thinking, and initiative, all critical to developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem
The political instability caused by the Arab Spring has also resulted in a brain drain, as the best lecturers (and students!) in the region have decided to leave the region for better opportunities in developed nations. As per University World News, other problems facing universities in the region included lack of research and publication, challenges of accessibility and quality, and low levels of student and scientific mobility and innovation. The result of these problems is a workforce that is not ready for the development of an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem. This sentiment was further echoed by global entrepreneurship NGO Endeavor, which found that 39% MENA companies cited an inadequately educated workforce as their biggest problem.
Therefore, it is important for governments in the region who view entrepreneurs and their ventures as a vehicle for driving growth and reducing unemployment in their countries, to strengthen their respective higher education systems by giving higher degree of freedom to existing universities with respect to course content and pedagogy, increasing domestic- and foreign- private player participation in the higher education sector to bring in global best practices, tapping successful entrepreneurs living abroad for their advice and connections, and developing more training programs for entrepreneurs, among others.

The article was originally published at: Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

Unemployment Paradox in the MENA Region

Unemployment Paradox in the MENA Region

  • High and increasing unemployment rates in the MENA region are a concern for governments and economy.
  • We have at our hands a peculiar situation where we lack employment opportunities, as well as a lack of qualified candidates who can meet specific job requirements
  • This article deals with the common employment paradoxes faced by employers in the region.

One of the challenges that face any economy is its unemployment percentage and the MENA region is not an exception; where these rates are not only high…But unfortunately increasing!

Unlike most people claims; unemployment is not mainly attributed to unavailability of employment opportunities, but surprisingly enough, employers are also facing the challenge of scarce caliber resources who can meet minimum requirements of a specific job. Companies need workers who can do their jobs perfectly or at least do the minimum requirements needed for the job to be productive; while employees are mainly focusing on job rewards.

Therefore there is a paradox between the 2 claims, one which states that the market does not have enough jobs and the other that claims that many jobs can’t find candidates to fill! Well actually both are true!

While investors are not investing enough (Development and Money), also workers are not working hard enough!

The following chart shows different unemployment rates across the global regions (2014-Q2):

Unemployment Paradox in the MENA Region1

Common Unemployment Paradoxes

A) Attitude vs. Skills:

  • Most employers are eager to realize positive performance results and therefore seek in their interviews to hire employees with “technical” experience with low focus on attitude and behavior; thus leaving a lot of “Inexperienced” or “fresh graduate” candidates unemployed. The more we have employers like these, the higher will be the salaries of experienced workers and the lower will be the chance for potential good calibers.
  • ​MNC expansions through the past 2 decades has dramatically influenced the general market trend for people development in 2 ways:
  • Exported good candidates who are seeking better packages (Especially Managers) to local companies.
  • They directly forced their competitors to provide people with better development path and financial packages to avoid high employee turn-over.
  • MNC invasion was not all so good also; some employees would just leave because they are perceived below expectations at their former companies where the performance bar is really high, while they know they can get a better salary and job title at another organization that is not so very much sophisticated! This was one of the reasons for salary bubbles raising the gap between different company ranks.

B) Able to Work vs. Willing to Work:

  • While some people can’t find a job, some others are not willing to work unless in very specific jobs or even unwilling to work at all!
  • Some insist on finding jobs in their specific education field, while others are not willing to work unless with a specific salary or a specific position.
  • The main issue is not the perception itself, but rather their willingness to improve their knowledge, skills and attitude… Some workers just don’t and won’t upgrade any of those three, but still are demanding specific jobs that can’t be matched by their current set of skills and will (Most probably) stay unemployed!

C) Gap between Education and Actual Required Market Experience

  • While employers are still valuing technical and functional skills, millions of fresh graduates are out in the market getting frustrated from the amount of job applications and interviews replied to negatively or even none replied to at all! I always face this question from frustrated young people “How can I have experience if nobody is willing to provide me with this experience without having prior experience?!”

D) Perceived vs. Actual Skills:

  • Another paradox that invaded the job market is how a candidate perceives the skills required to perform adequately in a given job. If an employee is given a negative feedback from his / her direct boss, most commonly they will seek another job where they are perceived as better candidates to fill the required positions

E) Low Caliber

  • It is very common that company X is looking for a senior manager and 100 people apply for the job, then the number reaches 10 candidates after the initial screening and then 2 at the final interview them 0 accepted, then company X looks for a specific senior manager to hire later by direct head hunting.

What we are facing currently is a multifaceted “unordinary” issue; therefore the solution also should be “unordinary”

Real change of: Perception – Attitude – Creative Solutions.

The article is written by Sherif Taha for Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

UAE – Innovating to Grow & Diversify

UAE – Innovating to Grow & Diversify

  • The UAE has been able to quickly and successfully transform itself from an oil-based economy into an innovative, knowledge-based economy; actively promoting innovation through policies and initiatives aimed at developing the three pillars of the innovation ecosystem – human, financial and technological capital
  • Being the first-ever World Expo to be held in the MENA region and themed as ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Dubai Expo 2020 is expected to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the region.
  • UAE’s private sector will need to play an increasingly important role in supporting the government’s agenda and promoting the national innovation ecosystem to ensure that the UAE is able to maintain and strengthen its position as a hub for innovation, not just in the Middle East, but across the world.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which used to be known as an oil-based economy, has been able to quickly and successfully transform itself into an innovative, knowledge-based economy over the past decade. In fact, knowledge-based revenues now constitute a greater proportion of the nation’s GDP than oil revenues, having grown from 32.1% in 2001 to 37.5% in 2012. In its move towards becoming a knowledge-based economy, the UAE has diversified its economy, becoming a key player in the real estate and renewable energy sectors, in addition to becoming a global hub for trade, financial services and tourism. This vision to become a knowledge economy is evident in the UAE’s Vision 2021, which aims to build a nation where ‘knowledgeable and innovative Emiratis will confidently build a competitive and resilient economy’.

The nation has been actively promoting innovation through policies and initiatives aimed at developing the three pillars of the innovation ecosystem – human, financial and technological capital. 

Let’s talk about the human capital first as it is the most critical and fundamental pillar for all innovative changes. UAE has advanced its human capital on numerous fronts. Thanks to consistent investments across all education levels, UAE boasts one of the most advanced education systems in the MENA region. Moreover, advancing women’s education and economic participation has led to women taking up leadership roles throughout the country.

The UAE government’s budget allocation to education makes up more than 20% of the overall budget amount — this is way above than the benchmark average of 13%. Besides overhauling primary, secondary, and higher education systems, the nation is facilitating expansion of higher education institutes by establishing world-class local universities, attracting foreign universities to open branches in the nation, and entering into international partnerships. For instance, the Masdar Institute was established in 2007 in close cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). All these efforts have paid off, with the UAE’s rank on the Education sub-pillar of the Global Innovation Index going up from 65th in 2011 to 15th in 2013.

Second key element of knowledge economy is the financial capital because even the highly skilled human capital can fail to perform to its full potential without sufficient funds. Several sources of funding are available in the nation, including government funds, equity investing and crowd funding. Government funds typically provide early-stage funding and include the Khalifa Fund, the Expo 2020 fund, among others. In terms of equity investment, venture capital is the most accessible, despite the low risk tolerance of VC funds. The number of regional VC funds actively investing in the region is going up. Also, the number of VC deals has increased by 50% between 2010 and 2012, with 47% of the investment focused on technology.

Along with human capital and financial capital, technology accounts for another critical element for facilitating ground-zero innovation.  Although the UAE’s R&D expenditure as a percentage of its GDP (0.47% in 2011) is still below international benchmarks (global average of 2.08% and the OECD average of 2.32%), it is launching several targeted initiatives to develop its R&D efforts. Besides driving R&D in universities, the UAE government is keen to establish scientific hubs, for example, TechnoPark was set-up as a science and technology park managed by the Dubai Institute of Technology (DIT). Also, the Masdar Institute is developing a technology for desalinating sea water using renewable energy sources, and building the London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

The UAE’s innovation ecosystem has been encouraging many residents to become entrepreneurs. UAE-based technology start-up launches are expected to increase at a faster rate than the MENA average. By 2015, the UAE is expected to witness 185 new technology-based start-ups. Furthermore, the UAE government has reviewed its intellectual property and copyright laws with an aim to align them with international standards.

Exhibit 1: Snapshot of Some UAE Start-ups

UAE – Innovating to Grow & Diversify 1

Source: The Global Innovation Index 2014: The Human Factor in Innovation, Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

The UAE topped the World Bank’s Knowledge Economy Index (KEI) among Arab countries, ranking 42nd globally with a score of 6.94. On all the four pillars of the knowledge economy—the economic and institutional regime, education, innovation, and information and communication technologies (ICTs), UAE was ranked among the top four Arab nations.

While the UAE leads the Middle East with a global ranking of 46 in overall innovation performance, Dubai is the first city in the region to establish first knowledge centers, including Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City and Knowledge Village.

Further, the Dubai Expo 2020 is expected to benefit several sectors of the economy such as hospitality, tourism, trade, shipping logistics and real estate; nearly $7 billion (Dh25.7 billion) has been allocated for development and infrastructure projects in Dubai so far. Being the first-ever World Expo to be held in the MENA region, the Expo will also add more than Dh140 billion to Dubai’s GDP, create nearly 277,000 new jobs and draw over 25 million visitors.  The theme of Dubai Expo 2020, Connecting Minds, Creating the Future emphasizes the importance of partnerships and innovation for building a sustainable world today and in the future­. Especially Dubai Expo’s new 100-million-euro Expo Live initiative will help drive innovation by uniting research institutes, companies, citizens and entrepreneurs across the globe in finding solutions to global challenges.

Exhibit 2: World Bank’s Knowledge Economy Index (KEI) Ranking of Arab Nations

UAE – Innovating to Grow & Diversify 2

Source: IMF, MRD/Orient Planet

Overall, if we look at the UAE’s innovation ecosystem, it seems that the pieces of the puzzle are falling into the correct places. The nation now boasts a number of unique advantages, such as strong education system, a diverse talent pool, a growing innovation culture, and a number of targeted R&D initiatives. While the UAE government has been capitalizing on these strengths and issuing relevant policies that address the issues of talent, funding and stakeholder cooperation, the private sector will need to play an increasingly important role in supporting the government’s agenda and promoting the national innovation ecosystem to ensure that the UAE is able to maintain and strengthen its position as a hub for innovation, not just in the Middle East, but across the world.

The article was originally published at: Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

The Arab Digital Divide and the March towards a True Arab Knowledge Economy

The Arab Digital Divide

  • Most Arab nations have made significant progress towards becoming knowledge-based economies by making major improvements in ICT diffusion since the mid-1990s
  • However, the difference in ICT use across the region is so wide that it almost creates a digital divide with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries on one side and the rest of the MENA countries standing on the other side of the divide.
  • Therefore, despite making significant progress towards becoming a knowledge-based economy, a lot needs to be done for expanding broadband capacity and spreading ICT usage in non-GCC Arab nations to create a true Arab Knowledge Economy.

In today’s fast progressing information era, numerous countries are focusing on knowledge creation and advanced technological development—together termed as ‘Knowledge Economy’.  In order to remain competitive in the global economy of the 21st century, most Arab nations are also utilizing the power of high-quality knowledge. They are laying out relevant policies and taking important steps to meet all requirements that define a knowledge economy and these efforts have yielded positive results as well. Since 2001, the Arab World has recorded the largest growth in Internet users across the regions in the world. There has been more than a 600% increase in the number of citizens accessing the Internet in the region. Some Arab countries have also launched initiatives for improving their education system and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure.

A dynamic ICT infrastructure is a pre-requisite for a nation to fully participate in the global knowledge economy and to accelerate economic growth – it is measured by the extent of mobile telephony, computers, Internet access, and new electronic applications, all supported by a dynamic IT industry that boosts employment and economic growth. There is enough evidence that information and communication technology (ICT) plays an increasingly significant role in economic growth. According to a World Bank’s report, every 10 percentage-point increase in broadband penetration in low- and middle- income countries accelerates their economic growth by 1.38 percentage points.

Majority of the Arab countries have made significant progress towards becoming knowledge-based economies by making major improvements in ICT diffusion since the mid-1990s — the mobile cellular segment has grown from almost nothing in 2000 to 87 subscriptions per 100 people in 2010; during the same period, the number of Internet users in the MENA region increased tenfold to more than 100 million, with wide variation across nations, ranging from 12 users per 100 people in Algeria to 81 per 100 in Qatar. ­ According to a report by Madar Research and Development and Orient Planet, the number of Arab internet users is expected to increase to nearly 197 million users by 2017, with the internet penetration rate jumping from about 32% in 2012 to over 51% in 2017 — this would be nearly 3% above the world average at that time.

However, the difference in ICT use across the region is so wide that it almost creates a digital divide with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries on one side and the rest of the MENA countries standing on the other side of the divide. The figure below shows the disparity between GCC and non-GCC countries. Libya is the only exception among non-GCC nations, with mobile broadband penetration of nearly 43 per 100 people, a rate comparable with GCC nations. Growth in Libya is driven by strong government support, which compensates for the low fixed broadband penetration, and Libya having a GNI per capita of $16,400.

Fixed and Mobile Broadband Internet Subscription Rate in Select Arab Countries

The Arab Digital Divide-1

 Source: International Telecommunications Union, ICT Adoption and Prospects in the Arab Region 2012

Overall, despite the progress made, a lot needs to be done for expanding broadband capacity and spreading ICT usage in the region. Just looking at the basic technology statistics, one can easily make out the inadequacy of the region’s ICT infrastructure. For instance, the average bandwidth in the Arab region is low at around 1 Mb/1,000 people, compared with 40 Mbs/1,000 people in the U.K. and 30 Mbs/1,000 people in France.

High costs of ICT services, driven by monopolies in certain segments, act as inhibitors in the Arab world. In 2008, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Tunisia still had monopolies over international long-distance communication; Lebanon continued to have a monopoly on mobile services. Also, if we glance through World Bank’s report, only four Arab countries (UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia) rank in the top 50 on the Knowledge Economy Index, as there is a lack of a coherent strategy among the Arab nations to support growth based on knowledge and innovation. The region continues to face many challenges in pursuit of transforming into an information-based economy, which requires implementation of key cross-sector reforms in education, innovation, ICT infrastructure, etc.

Thus, there is much more that can be done for ensuring that ICTs are used as the tool for increasing productivity, growth and employment, and that digital growth in the Arab world is inclusive. As this is done, MENA governments should introduce and implement policies for improving the ICT skills of their workforce, which will make them more employable, more innovative and an effective contributor to the development of a strong and inclusive Arab Knowledge Economy.

The article was originally published at: Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

Social and Emotional Learning and its role in Collaborative Problem Solving

Social and Emotional Learning

  • Social and emotional abilities are emerging larger by demand in the job market with successful companies necessitating these skills alongside academic knowledge from apposite employees.
  • In today’s context, students spend qualitative and quantitative time in schools and schools play a significant role in imparting social and emotional learning to students. 
  • Good teaching and learning takes cognizance of the process of study, which includes group work and collaboration, while quality co-curricular and extra-curricular activities reinforce these skills in intangible ways but more effectively.

“How on earth do you wake up your son in the mornings?” This tweet was from my son’s teacher who accompanied him on an educational trip. The message bolstered my views on the key attributes of school trips, mainly Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).

Social and emotional abilities are emerging larger by demand in the job market with successful companies necessitating these skills alongside academic knowledge from apposite employees. In 1995 Daniel Goleman, the leading expert in the field of emotional intelligence, stated “IQ is only a minor predictor of success in life, while emotional and social skills are far better predictors of success and well-being than academic intelligence. Aristotle puts it succinctly: “the rare skill to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way.”

There exists an extent of fallacy that social and emotional skills are consequential to one’s upbringing. Whereas, the good news is, “emotional literacy” is not fixed early in life. Just like developing rational and thinking skills, these metacognitive skills which include higher-order thinking that enables understanding, analysis, and control of one’s cognitive processes, can be cultivated in children – in our homes, classrooms and institutions.

In today’s context, students spend qualitative and quantitative time in schools. Hence, schools play a significant role in imparting social and emotional learning to students.  Good teaching and learning takes cognizance of the process of study, which includes group work and collaboration. Quality co-curricular and extra-curricular activities reinforce these skills in intangible ways but more effectively.

This winning formula is well-integrated into Dubai’s education landscape, through the well-structured school inspections framework by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). School inspections in Dubai measure schools’ provision towards students’ personal and social development alongside attainment and progress in core subjects. Quality extra-curricular and co-curricular activities are catalytic to embedding self-awareness, moods management, developing team skills, empathy and self-motivation – which are outlined by Goleman as essential attributes to emotional intelligence. Certain that these five competencies power social and emotional learning, and gaging this provision in schools, the KHDA endorses a contented parent community in the region.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a global education body that administers international benchmarking assessments, has announced emphasis on parameters including social and emotional intelligence to measure students’ success criteria. It identifies Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) as a basic necessity and a critical skill in educational settings and the workforce. In conjunction, it is important to note that the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) used worldwide as an international benchmarking test will use CPS approach in its 2015 assessment. PISA assesses 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance on mathematics, science, and on their reading skills. PISA results provide information about participating schools on two scales, at the national level and the global level. Benchmarking an individual school’s scores against national averages provides volumes of information on the impact of the curriculum offered at the school vis-à-vis the next level of preparation it extends to 15-year-old pupils. The national averages against the global averages perfunctorily highlights the quality of education framework in the country as against the best-achieving global counterparts.

Rightfully so, DSIB has stressed the need for private schools to work towards meeting international assessment benchmarks outlined this year by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, as part of his National Agenda. The targets call for the UAE to be among the 15 highest performing countries in Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study tests, and in the top 20 countries in Programme for International Student Assessment exams.

We are thus moving towards a system of learning, which emphasizes on the conglomeration of cognitive and metacognitive skills. Social and emotional learning apart from accruing to an individual’s success, given the momentum that the process garners contributes to the very fabric of a prosperous society.

Let us deem it necessary to advocate the fact, as rightly stated by David Caruso: ‘It is of the upmost importance to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, neither the triumph of heart over head nor the soul over the body, but the unique intersection of all three…”

The article is written by Fatima Martin for Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

An Education Hub In The Middle East

An Education Hub In The Middle East

  • The UAE has some of the world’s best schools in terms of infra-structure, and the government earmarks approximately 25 percent of the total government spending on education.
  • The region has some wonderful schools but faces the “in between syndrome”, when it comes to providing affordable quality education.
  • It would perhaps he good for the region to create a kind of “free zone” for education from where global players, especially in higher education, can operate at costs which will attract students from around the world.

Four years into education in the UAE, after thirty years in various parts of the world, I am confronted by a thought provoking situation. The UAE has some of the world’s best schools in terms of infra-structure, the government earmarks approximately 25 percent of the total government spending on education, has achieved over 90 percent literacy, stands high on the United Nations’ Education Index, has a very high rate of female education, and gives free education to its citizens. The Ministry of Education has adopted “Education 2020” with emphasis on Mathematics, English and Teacher Training. All of this is greatly commendable. The next step would obviously be to move towards becoming a destination for the global diaspora seeking a quality education. It is one of the best parts of the world to live in; it must become a supply center of a globally employable workforce.

Four years ago I was Head of an international school in India which had 63 nationalities of students. Most of these were people of Indian origin coming in from around the world for a taste of India and for an affordable world class education. There are many schools and colleges of this kind in India and they attract a healthy clientele. There are two key words here: world class and affordable. This is what brought in huge numbers of Korean students as also students from other non -English speaking countries where quality education either does not exist or is very expensive. There is further synergy with a plethora of higher education opportunities, both traditional and those which can be exciting for the seekers of the more exotic courses; and all of this at an affordable price.

Let us now look at the scenario in the Middle East. The region has some wonderful schools but faces the “in between syndrome”. In terms of affordability the area is disadvantaged by far cheaper options in other countries; in terms of quality there is a lack of synergy with higher education within the countries of the region and a lack of confidence which makes parents move children to their home countries closer to the school leaving stage. This is to a large extent because the variety of tertiary education in the region is limited and because it costs a fraction in many other countries.

It would perhaps he good for the region to create a kind of “free zone” for education from where global players, especially in higher education, can operate at costs which will attract students from around the world. As of now the conditions prevent education companies from lowering fees and from introducing new and quality courses to attract foreign custom. Add to this the shortage of university courses with global placements and you have the reasons for the “in between syndrome”.

If countries with much poorer infrastructure and little political will can attract students who want to become eligible for global careers, the Middle East has all the essential requisites to make it big in this field. If a degree in medicine costs 50000 dollars in the US, it is much lower in Ireland and in parts of Southeast Asia.

But cheaper and quality education needs support. One would be the creation of a special package for education companies. With a large percentage of expat population, that too of diverse ethnicity, competition with home country options becomes fearsome both in terms of quality and costs.  The second would be a quality control regime which is not based upon a system with limited success, but a system modified to suit local needs. The region has to cater to varied output standards at the K-12 level to suit differently perceived success criteria in home countries. Alternatively, the region must provide attractive options for tertiary education in conformity with standards established locally at the K-12 level. Together this could lead to a new era of education in the region.

The article is written by Dr. Aninda Chatterji for Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review