His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, addressed a delegation of representatives from leading universities and institutions from around the world at the Youth Hub, Emirates Towers, Dubai. The inaugural event served as a platform to showcase the Foundation’s latest research findings as part of its continued efforts to enable access to quality education and encourage the graduation of work-ready youth and talent in the Arab region.
His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Abdullah Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, said: “Today’s forum provided us with an opportunity to build upon and learn from the partnerships we have established with 16 universities in 10 countries. In line with the UAE’s objectives to boost education, we are committed to enhancing the provision of education to our youth, helping to equip them with the right tools to progress in their chosen careers and to grow as future leaders. Whilst we are proud that some 750 Al Ghurair Scholars are now learning at some of the leading universities in the region and around the world, we aspire to do much more. We want to see every young Arab perform to their best potential, develop into innovators, job-creators and ultimately leaders within their communities.”
Maysa Jalbout, Chief Executive Officer of the Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, added: “We are pleased to see so many educational institutions and partners engage with us on the challenge of providing quality education that helps Arab students prepare to work as we experience the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Our research reveals that youth in the UAE and our region want more from their education, they want universities to prepare them for the job market. Employers also want more from university graduates. They want them to be ready for the workplace, have the right skills and become more competitive. Our objective today, as part of the forum, is to support regional uptake in establishing co-operative education and focusing on youth-driven startups as concrete steps that every university can take.”
Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur, the President of the University of Waterloo, shared the successful experience of his university in providing over 22,000 cooperative education opportunities for students per year with some of the best companies in the world. Almost 100% of all University of Waterloo students land a job prior to graduation largely on account of their mandatory completion of five work experiences as part of their cooperative program.
The University of Waterloo is one of the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education’s 16 partner universities. The Foundation has placed two cohorts of students from across the Arab world at the University. Together, the two entities are committed to helping universities in the Arab region benefit from the expertise of the University of Waterloo in cooperative education. The University of Waterloo has been named the most innovative university in Canada for 26 years.
The inaugural forum brought together regional education and entrepreneurship decision-makers and Arab youth in a series of sessions that focused on dialogue on job-readiness, education innovation and opportunities around co-op education. This dialogue aims to contribute to wider efforts in preparing the youth for the jobs of the future and is in line with the call of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, during the just-concluded World Government Summit in Dubai, for educational institutions in the UAE to make a qualitative leap in meeting the job requirements of the future.
Dr. Samar Farah, Research Manager, Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, shared insights from the study: “Arab youth have some of the highest education aspirations in comparison to their peers around the world. 97 percent of surveyed university students reported that preparing for their careers is the most important thing at university, but too many do not believe they are receiving enough support. Arab youth want access to counseling, more work experience, and a stronger linkage between their university and potential employers.”