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Planning gets underway as KHDA seeks to deliver quality and quantity in the vocational sector while achieving work force and industry requirements of DSP 2015.
Vocational education set to become a recognized viable educational option and route to higher education

Dubai, UAE, August 25, 2007 – The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has begun structuring the vocational education sector in a bid to raise the profile of the said sector, offering it as an alternative and viable route to higher education. Key representatives from the three vocational education providers in Dubai, met with Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of KHDA, to discuss crucial issues facing the sector and take the next steps in resolving the said issues.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Mohammed Al Budoor, Vice Chancellor, Emirates Aviation College, Dr. Ahmed Al Ali, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Emirates Aviation College, Ron Hilvert, Managing Director of Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, Dr. Naji Al Mahdi, Executive Director, National Institute of Vocational Education (NIVE) and Mohammed Zainal from NIVE.

Addressing the meeting, Dr Al Karam said, “While looking at the bigger picture of education and human resource development, KHDA seeks to change the way the vocational education sector is understood and looked at. We would like it to be seen as one of the primary educational and career options for students leaving high school. It is also definitely an alternative and viable route to higher education.”

“The existing vocational education institutions in the Emirate are good and have achieved a lot so far. But the situation is far from ideal. It requires coordinated efforts if we are to serve the country’s need keeping in mind the goals of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015.” he added.

Untouched and overlooked so far, the sector attracts a few hundred students in a couple of institutions offering a handful of options in select vocations. Being an area that grew without planning or coordinated efforts, it is also a sector that the government has not keenly invested in.

In a presentation during the meeting, KHDA highlighted the ad hoc programs that produce ‘employment ready’ professionals without planning for the future needs of the country. The presentation also highlighted the gaps in the six key economic sectors in focus under the Dubai Strategic Plan i.e. Travel and tourism, Financial Services, Professional Services, Transport and Logistic Services, Trade and Storage and Construction.

KHDA seeks to develop the vocational education sector with the following characteristics

  • Vocational education feeding into the higher education sector where certificate holders can enter the higher education sector using the vocational education platform
  • Upskilling the workforce
  • Workforce development planning can be achieved with the different economic sectors
  • Direct link with industry

During the discussions, the need for streamlining the efforts of the sector arose to build on mutual strength points and avoid repetition. While discussions about funding and feasibility took precedence over other issues, Dr Al Karam stressed that the idea behind the cohesive planning was not just to solve the funding issues, but to map out the sector so that there is a focus on the right turnout of students with the skills in areas that are planned and predetermined.

Recognition and employability of graduating students was also a major point of discussion. With most employers in the industry not recognizing the value of the qualifications for what it is worth, vocational degree holders are losing out on employment opportunities.

The group agreed to meet again shortly to take the next steps in resolving the issues and deciding the future course of action.

Page last updated 01 January 2020
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