Workplace skills critical to regional economic stability
- Egypt: Saturday, October 06 - 2012 at 14:58
- PRESS RELEASE
The economic and social revitalization of Egypt could be aided by increased investment in work-readiness training, says the Middle East, Africa and Caribbean President of the world's largest education company, Pearson.
A survey conducted by the World Bank indicated the skills of workers in Egypt are often mismatched with the needs of private business. Fifty percent of the private firms interviewed for the Bank's report identified a disparity between students' skills provided by the formal education system and the skills needed by the labor market as a constraint to business development.
Ms Ozden said, "This shortage can be addressed by providing qualifications that give graduates not only with the knowledge they need for a successful career, but also the attitudes and behaviors."
She added, "Employers are clear when they describe the skills they need in potential employees: basic literacy and numeracy, the ability to work well with others, good interpersonal skills, a good attitude to work and increasingly, a good grasp of the English language. This problem is not unique to Egypt - businesses all over the world tell us that they find it hard finding employees who are job ready. That is why we ensure our qualifications - like the BTECs - are developed closely with industry, making graduates of these programs sought after in a competitive job market like Egypt's."
The British-Egyptian Society's Conference, titled 'Education, The Best Investment' was an opportunity for leading figures from governments, universities, business and industry to influence debate surrounding the future of educational policy and funding in both the United Kingdom and Egypt.
As well as fostering close working relationships between institutions in both countries, the Conference sought to engage decision makers to develop initiatives and collaborative projects that will have positive outcomes for individuals and communities in the UK, Egypt, and wider Arab region.
Ms Ozden said, "Education will be Egypt's shining light over the coming months as it emerges from the turbulence seen in recent times. Providing the Egyptian workforce with first rate educational products, skills and training will be essential to Egypt's, the wider region's future prosperity."
Egypt is high on Pearson's agenda as the demand for quality learning solutions in the country grow, particularly in the vocational and technical sector. The company is investing significant resources in Egypt, and has recently opened new offices in Cairo - a sign that it is committed to providing Egyptians with the skills and education they have been calling for.
Ms Ozden said, "We all know that technical and professional jobs will drive Egypt's competitive ability going forward, as these are the jobs that are needed to attract foreign direct investment to Egypt. However, while there are large numbers of people studying vocational and technical programs, the content of these courses may not be linked to employers' needs...Bringing employers into the education system, seeking their advice and encouraging them to invest their own time and money into education will lead to better outcomes for individuals and the wider Egyptian economy."
Pearson is confident that its internationally respected offering of learning solutions will make a valuable contribution to the economic recovery of the country, as more Egyptians take up education and enter the workforce.
"Pearson is ready to work with schools, colleges, universities and government departments across Egypt to maximize the potential of their students and employees. The opportunities in Egypt at the moment are immense, and we are excited to be a part of this new and exciting time in Egyptian education," she added.
Ms Ozden believes that enhancing peoples' educational opportunities will have flow on effects for the wider Egyptian economy. She said, "At Pearson we truly believe that learning has the power to change lives and transform entire communities. It is amazing to see the difference an excellent education can bring not only to an individual, but to their whole society. By giving a person skills and knowledge you are giving them the opportunity to be productive and valuable to an employer, or the confidence and understanding they need to start their own enterprise."
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