Knowledge economy: Qatar’s increasing focus on developing ‘human capital’ is an integral part of its national vision
In the last few years, Qatar has emerged as Asia’s leading education hub and global center of learning. It is a direct result of its rising position as a destination of choice among overseas students seeking international quality education. The tiny Gulf nation is home to a number of international universities and academic institutions with best-in-class and diverse range of courses. The Government’s effort to enhance and improve the education sector is aligned with the goal of knowledge-driven economic development and growth.
For way too long, Qatar has been reliant on foreign workforce to stir it from an oil and gas-based economy to one that is more service and knowledge oriented. Recognising the changing dynamics, the country realizes that becoming an education hub will support its efforts to train and retain the large expatriate population of students as well as attract international students and workers from the region and beyond.
It has been almost a decade since the launch of the Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030 development plan, providing the wealthy state with a blueprint of transformation and growth. The country has been one of the top advocates of the significance of education
Recently, in a high-level panel discussion organised by the Education Above All Foundation (EAA), in cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of EAA and advocate for the UN Sustainable Development Goals, urged the global community to facilitate access to quality education for displaced children and to enforce severe penalties on perpetrators of armed conflict. She stated that “Education must be given priority as it is the tool for the children of the present and future.”
In line with the stated approach to prioritise education and ensuring quality education within the country, Qatar’ Ministry of Education and Higher Education outlined its Strategic Plan from 2017-2022, including development and expansion of early education and the promotion of attractive educational environment.
The most recent initiative taken by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education to promote quality education environment is designing a new Career Advising System (CAS), which is all set to be rolled out in the current academic session across public secondary schools in Qatar. The new CAS is a result of an MOU between Qatar Career Development Centre (QCDC), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
The new CAS is designed to cater to the futuristic needs emerging from Qatar’ social and economic environment. It is equipped with diverse and innovative components, as well as psychometric and personality assessment tools to help students identify the most appropriate academic and career paths in line with needs of the job market in the country.
Another major event, Career Guidance Stakeholders Platform 2018, was organised in line with Qatar Foundation’s efforts to promote career guidance in Qatar. The event, themed ‘Moving Operationally to Strategically Enhance Career Guidance in the State of Qatar’, was attended by 250 policy-makers, decision-makers and senior executives from various government institutions from Qatar and international organisations from the rest of the world at the Qatar National Convention Centre.
As stated by QCDC director, Abdulla al-Mansoori, “Nation-building requires a diverse set of competencies, skills, and jobs to ensure self-sufficiency when it comes to the local labour force required to bolster the state’s economy at present and in the future”. The initiatives to upgrade and direct talent in the country may be derived by Qatar’s ambition to become self-sufficient in the coming years to meet its workforce demand.
The innovation-driven approach highlighted in a recent event organised by HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering (CSE), entitled Qatar Towards a Smart Future, indicates that the move towards a knowledge-based economy is equally a strategic bend towards diversification of economy by becoming a major hub of quality education in the region.