MUSCAT: Majlis Ash’shura hosted Dr Rahma bint Ibrahim al Mahrouqiyah, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and Dr Said bin Mohammed al Saqri, Minister of Economy, at its 6th regular meeting of the third annual session (2021-2022), held here on Monday under the chairmanship of Khalid bin Hilal al Maawali, Chairman of Majlis Ash’shura.
The meeting discussed the topic of job-seekers based on a request presented by a group of the members from the Majlis. The discussions centred on three topics: the reality of educational outputs and the labour market, assessing the government’s policies, strategies and programmes to bridge the gap between the educational outputs and the labour market and aligning educational outputs to the labour market.
Dr Said bin Mohammed al Saqri, Minister of Economy, stated that the statistics show a significant drop in the number of job-seekers which reflects the ministry’s efforts in this regard.
A total of 63,080 job-seekers were appointed in 2021, the minister said, explaining some challenges facing the ministry in terms of aligning education outputs to the requirements of the labour market including the lack of a transitional programme from study to the labour market.
The minister of higher education, research and innovation said that the ministry launched the Idaad programme which is a national training programme for a full academic year targeting the penultimate year undergraduates in both public and private higher education institutions. The programme targets to provide the students with the basic skills through exposing them to the work environment for an adequate period.
It is hoped that the 'Idaad' programme will provide the students with sufficient knowledge, skills and experience to bridge the gap between the students’ skills and the requirements of the labour market in line with one of the most important pillars of Oman Vision 2040, which is building citizens capabilities and preparing them with a high degree of efficiency. The minister added that an international firm was contracted to review the programmes and curricula of the vocational colleges in coordination with the ministry.
The members of Majlis Ash’shura stressed the importance of opening the paths of vocational and technical education in post-basic education and expediting the implementation of the Royal directives of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik on taking necessary measures to analyze the needs and requirements necessary for the application of vocational and technical education in post-basic education. The members raised questions about the possibility of reconsidering the university education system in order to upgrade the students’ entrepreneurial skills by offering courses in leadership and introducing new disciplines in this field.
The members reviewed the Singaporean experience, calling for benefiting from it to adopt an economy based on innovation and technology.
The minister of economy confirmed that the government seeks to benefit from the experience as the new plan depends on transforming some sectors, such as agriculture and fisheries, into industry-based sectors.
In the same context, the members of Majlis Ash’shura presented several proposals to boost the national economy and generate sustainable job opportunities in various disciplines. The proposals include establishing large strategic projects in all governorates with high added value by the government if not adopted by the private sector.