I remain convinced, almost ten years since my arrival in the Sultanate, that the commercial and economic model for Oman requires a rethink, and that it must have a reshaping of a key element of the education system.
The global scene, economically, has been, and continues to evolve, or change, at breakneck speed, and with global allegiances and trade and international partnerships so utterly dependent upon political expediency and whimsical personalities, then perhaps it doesn’t pay to rely on alliances when looking ahead, or planning, but rather to become more in a manner, more insular.
It would certainly appear that the current trade impasse between China and the United States, the ongoing saga of Brexit, between the United Kingdom and European Union, the enthusiasm of Russia, and the continued inability of the continental powerhouses of Africa and South America to function collaboratively and effectively, suggest we should look at alternatives.
I certainly believe that one of the non-negotiables has already been established, with English as the Sultanate’s second language, and what that does is offer the avenue of communication for all manner of international interaction, ‘on demand,’ so to speak, so let’s have a conversation now about preparing the nation’s youth, for opportunities that will certainly arise in the future.
Enthusiasm takes us so far. As automotive pioneer William Chrysler observed, “The real secret to success is enthusiasm,” so keeping that in mind, we should all agree that a primary requirement, for our young people’s education, is choice, and that they can follow a path of choice and enthusiasm in their post-secondary studies?
Those involved in higher education see so much significant achievement in students who are motivated, and who have identified aims and objectives. Their willingness to work, to go that little bit further, and to passionately engage in their studies, is so glaringly obvious among those who can see themselves as the future of their subject specialty.
The current system of ‘streaming’ students based on their secondary school exam marks is not an effective measurement of a student’s ability to function in a particular speciality, and in the absence of psychometric, lexical, advanced reasoning, aptitude, engagement, or similar cognitive testing, or to engage in measurement of the five factor models of personality to assist in predicting where our personalities and ‘human’ talents, may be best used.
Pre-employment assessment and testing hypothesises on our ability to effectively engage in our vocation of choice, as ‘job fitness,’ becomes the new reality of employment and human resource management. Custom benchmarking, applicant ranking, and data mining are now all components of HR management and placement, so a degree or qualification, is no longer the benchmark as to how well qualified an applicant is, for a position.
Educating the student in their area of enthusiasm appears elemental in producing a graduate with genuine potential and value, so that when they hit the graduate employment sector, they are already significantly advanced in the areas of lexical and cognitive performance, and demonstrate high levels of engagement, which are all factors that now significantly influence multi-national and global employers, and a trend which must therefore surely follow in the government employment sector.
In any case, Albert Einstein wrote that, “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character,” and that we should focus not on success, but value, and for an employer, there is quite a difference. You will seek to become a success to make yourself rich, but you will increase your value as an employee, to be their most valuable asset.
Channeling that, sometimes childish, yet eagerly expressed, enthusiasm for a job, whether it be teaching, science, exploration, engineering, agriculture, accountancy has much greater value to the nation than the current ‘get-rich-quick,’ focus on wealth and entrepreneurism, and deserves a measured consideration.