Young students in the UAE who are trying to decide which major to pick, university to enroll in, country to study in or career path to pursue, feel they need to familiarise themselves with current academic listings and opportunities available in today's workplace.
The Najah Exhibition (meaning success in Arabic) , a three-day event attracted thousands of high school and college students to its interactive seminar and career counselling sessions, job profiling services, youth education seminars (YES) and interaction between interested candidates with reputable universities, councils and companies offering their expertise.
"We want parents of our high school students to make informed choices about their children's futures. The council is committed to helping school leavers reach their full potential," said Mubarak Al Shamesi, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC).
Steve Ide, a partner in the Arabian Assessment and Development Centres offered his services in the exhibition: "Our job is to make sure young adults make the right choices. We designed 70 psychiatric analysis online occupational profiler questions on four different laptops with four bilingual consultants to help students match suitable academic and career options with their personalities, interests and qualifications."
What students said
A student, Ebrahim Abdullah, 17, Institute of Applied Technology, RAK, said he would like to become an aircraft engineer or a pilot and felt that Najah familiarised him with both majors. "This is the first exhibition I have attended regarding education and it has helped widen my scope about aviation in general. I only had friends and teachers to speak to about my career path. I would like to see more exhibitions in the near future, it really does help us."
Another student from Yemen, Rasha Nabil, 18, Palestine School, feels the exhibition helped students pick accredited universities in and out of the UAE. "I want to be a construction engineer and would like to travel and get to know different people outside the UAE. After I finish my TOEFL exam, I will join university and my parents don't mind me travelling. This exhibition helped me get in touch with the outside world. I'm still investigating what they all have to offer construction engineers."
Khaled Khamis, 17, UAE, wants to become an electrical engineer and hasn't decided where he would like to study. "There is a 60 per cent chance I will study in the UAE and a 40 per cent chance I will study abroad. I am still a bit confused about which one is better for me. That is why this exhibition is great, it helps direct my thinking. I will take whatever path I can to reach my aim and be an electrical engineer."
Another student, Safeya Al Maskari, 16, Rawafed School, says she wants to study architecture and intends to travel to the UK to be with her brother at university. "I would love to see more exhibitions like this. This is great not only for students but for parents. They get the load off their shoulders. I'm sure parents also find it hard to advise their children at times."
Bakheet A Harthy, 17, Hamdan Bin Mohammad School, wants to become a dentist. "I chose dentistry because I love a beautiful smile. This exhibition is just great. It's the second exhibition I attend and they really added to my information each time."
Al Harthy added that he may travel to strengthen his English and see the outside world. "I've never travelled before and this would be a great chance for me to do so. This exhibition has offered me ideas and challenges that never crossed my mind before."
In addition to being interested in taking part in exhibitions and learning English, Al Harthy also finds part time jobs. He was helping the Ministry of Education in the Najah Exhibition by guiding students and encouraging them to pursue academic majors they enjoy and not to enter a career by force.
"The education system in the UAE is improving. But we still see parents forcing their children to take up career paths that don't suit them and that is wrong. I think that's what's great about this exhibition today. It helps educate both student and parent. Also teachers should stop stressing us out by giving us similar deadlines for assignments. There has to be more structure and organisation and they have to allow us more time to prepare for the different subjects we have. Stress is not a solution. We want to learn, but the right way," added Al Harthy.
The following features were offered to students in the exhibition:
- Careers Advice Lounge: One-to-one advice available from professionals who advise on a range of subjects both in the education and job markets.
- The ADNOC Job Profiling Services: A 15-20 minute self-complete online assessment which reviews qualifications, interests and skills. This report highlights the key industries and areas in which the student should consider as a career.
- Interactive Seminar Sessions
- Youth Educational Seminar (YES): deals with different issues relating to teenagers such as boosting self image, building friendships, resisting peer pressure, achieving goals, improving communication and relationships with parents, teachers and more.
Some of the institutes that participated in the exhibition
- New York Institute of Technology
- Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi
- Qualifications Framework Project (QFP)
- Schlumberger Middle East
- Score Plus – Middle East
- Talal Abu Ghazaleh & Co International
- The Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute (ADVETI)
- The British University in Dubai
- University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD)
- University Teknology Malaysia
- Zayed University (ZU)