They said the transformations are already noticeable at the tertiary level of education where courses in sustainable farming, technology, and entrepreneurship have become part of curriculum.
The scientists cited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as an example, saying the country was witnessing what they described as a “re-engineering” of the education system.
Their remarks came in a ‘Sharjah Talks Business’ podcast interview in which Prof. Dima Rachid Jamali, Sharjah University’s Dean of the College of Business Administration, and Dr. Adil Al-Zourani, Chairman of ‘Citizens School’ took part.
Administered by the University of Sharjah, the ‘Sharjah Talks Business’ podcast is a series spotlighting edge-cutting insights and practical knowledge of in-house and external top notch experts during in 15-minute long interview or discussion.
Dr. Adil said transformations of the education system were necessary to keep abreast with the fundamental changes in world economy.
He cited a World Economic Forum study suggesting that 60 percent of future jobs haven’t even been developed yet, while 40 percent of nursery-age school children will need to be self-employed to have an income by the time they become working adults.
Dr. Al-Zourani said employment prospects, coupled with population growth, call for an education system that is “relevant to the realities of the future.”
A leader of several entrepreneurial teams, Dr. Al-Zourani said he spent many years working out a curriculum that would meet this reality to help “create a generation that is able to team up, identify issues or opportunities, find solutions, develop products, and be able to have incomes for themselves and their families.”
In the podcast interview, Dr. Al-Zourani said he launched ‘Citizens School’ in the UAE, which though following the traditional British curriculum, prioritizes education in entrepreneurship, sustainability, technology, and wellbeing.
Elaborating on the ‘Citizens School’, Dr. Al Zourani said it distinguishes their teachers as being mentors and facilitators rather than bearers of knowledge.
The school has an education experience that is “customized to fit the individual” instead of a traditional one-size-fits-all method, he added.
‘Citizens School’ is the first Middle East school to accept cryptocurrency as tuition fees.
Dr. Al-Zourani said involving digital currency in the tuition fee was one of the ways in which the school helped educate parents. “A lot of these futuristic concepts are new to the parents but a lot of these concepts will become the reality of the new generation,” he added.
Dr. Jamali from the University of Sharjah agreed with the need for ‘re-engineering’ the education system. “Many of the jobs of the future have not been created, so how can we train our students for jobs that don’t even exist yet?” she said.