Dr. Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education, right, with Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Ministry of Education in the UAE has announced that it will work more closely with the World Economic Forum (WEF) to expand the “Closing the Future Skills Gap” initiative in the UAE and the region. The goal is to empower one billion people by providing better education and economic opportunities by 2030.

This happened during the UAE delegation’s participation in the “Growth Summit 2023” organised by the World Economic Forum at its headquarters in Geneva on May 2 and 3, under the title “Jobs and Opportunities for All”.

Dr. Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education, reaffirmed the ministry’s commitment to working with partners, especially the WEF in matters related to scientific research and development. It is also committed to exchanging knowledge and contributing to society’s development in various fields, such as humanitarian, social, cultural, and sports. It also aims to boost employment, encourage creativity and innovation, and promote community innovation.

He said: “Our focus in the Ministry of Education is on developing the education system and its outputs to improve skills and prepare people for leadership roles. Our goal is to keep up with the changing global economy and business sectors while also contributing to the development of national economies. The importance of the ‘Closing the Future Skills Gap’ initiative is reflected in its alignment of human skills with future needs and in supporting the achievement of a more just and inclusive world for future generations.”

Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF, said: “We are facing a critical moment for the global economy, as the past year has accelerated trends of rising inequality, sharpening polarization, new patterns in global trade and supply chains, and both threats and opportunities from technology to jobs. Launched in 2020, the Reskilling Revolution has already reached 350 million people through the initiatives of its partners and members to provide better education and reskilling opportunities. With the new partnership and support of the Ministry of Education of the UAE, the Reskilling Revolution will globally scale up its next stage of work over 2023-2025 to reach 600 million people.”

As part of its cooperation in this initiative, the UAE will contribute to supporting the three tracks of the initiative, which is in line with the country’s efforts to build skills and reshape them on a global scale while highlighting and harmonizing the achieved development between the UAE and the rest of the world during 2023 and 2024. Progress updates are scheduled to be reviewed at the WEF’s Annual Meeting in 2024 and 2025 , where a framework will also be created to measure the impact of the associated initiatives, both directly and indirectly.

The “Closing the Future Skills Gap” initiative includes three tracks; The first works to accelerate building, reshaping and improving skill levels while introducing initiatives in innovative education, as well as training and developing competencies by activating national skills accelerators in developed, developing and emerging economies by 2025, in addition to launching a skills accelerator designed specifically for the UAE .

The second works to prepare and manage the transformation of education systems to meet the emerging needs of future economies, societies and labour markets through the Education 4.0 workstream linked to the fourth industrial cycle, as the UAE is keen to ensure the representation of employers and innovators, as well as to study the establishment of an Education 4.0 accelerator aligned with national strategic priorities.

The third track concentrates on improving foresight regarding education and skills demand. This involves analyzing the trends of business sectors in the UAE and the rest of the world in light of artificial intelligence, exploring the future of skills and jobs, and managing transformational change in collaboration with entrepreneurs.

The Ministry of Education will cooperate with the WEF in designing the next phase of the “Closing the Future Skills Gap” initiative, which includes the involvement of the business sector and UAE-based companies. The concerned parties are set to hold a meeting on the sidelines of the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils in October to discuss the most notable developments.