The UAE Youth Council in Ajman held today the third “Youth Debate” session under the title "Choosing a specialization based on passion or business requirements". This took place in the presence of HE Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education and HE Shama Bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrui, UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Chairman of the UAE Youth Council, and HE Marwan Al-Sawaleh, Undersecretary for Academic Affairs for General Education, a group of youth council members, and a number of school students and members of participating educational bodies.
Abdullah Lootah, Director General of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi, and Mohammed Saeed Harib, CEO of Lammtara
Technical Production, attended the session as experts of the Jury, which was held at the Teachers Training Institute with the participation of a group of outstanding students. The views and suggestions of the students were reviewed regarding the best ways to choose the academic specialization, its impact on job opportunities and the development of the future career path, its relevance to variables, and the range of opportunities and challenges resulting from technological development, especially in light of world progress in conjunction with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In his inaugural address, HE Hussein Bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, stressed that youth are the cornerstone for achieving the aspirations of the wise leadership and fulfilling the UAE endeavor to assume its leading and deserved role at all levels. Hence, the UAE leadership has given Emirati youth its utmost attention, while working to prepare and enable them to be future leaders as they are the real investment for the future. His Excellency praised the Youth Debates, which stem from a promising future vision for the Emirates Youth Council and focuses on the development of youth skills. He added: “This is what contributes to building a balanced and responsible Emirati citizen, who possesses the skills of dialogue and persuasion and is able to enhance his/her personal capacities to become the best ambassador for UAE internally and externally”.
He added that the art of dialogue, persuasion and influence is among the arts that everyone must possess and master, because it is an important tool for overcoming the problems that confront us in our daily lives.
He stressed that this youth debate is based on the Ministry of Education's interest in building generations, in addition to being scientifically prepared and possess the 21st century skills. He said: “It is a practical application of the skills and features of the UAE school that we seek to instill in our students”, adding that the student or youth, who possesses critical thinking and the ability to debate, dialogue and persuade can enhance his/her successes at all levels, and draw a clear path for himself/herself.
His Excellency spoke of the importance of this debate, which is based on the choice of university specialization according to passion and tendencies or according to the requirements of the labor market. He said: “It is worth noting that this important issue has always occupied students in the general education stage as it is the gateway to their career and leads to achieving their ambitions and dreams. It also leads to creating enthusiasm, motivation to unleash their energies and creative ideas, and thus contribute to the construction of UAE building blocks”.
He praised the performance of the students during the debate and the constructive ideas they presented, their excellent thinking and their ability to conduct a dialogue and research, as well as being guided by facts and factual data. He added: “This reassures us that our youth are on the right track, and that the future entrusted to them, with the help of God, is promising as they will endeavor to enrich UAE with more achievements, construction and work that adds value and sustains gains to achieving a cohesive and human-centered society”.
On the other hand, HE Shama Bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrui said: “We are meeting today through this ideal platform to discuss topics of interest to young people. This initiative is very important as it provides a platform for promoting positive and constructive dialogue, and a space through which we share the experiences and knowledge that enable us to improve the status of youth. This is done by identifying their needs and working to achieve their hopes and aspirations in order for them to be actively contributing to the development process and the progress of their communities”.
HE added: “We are pleased to cooperate with the Ministry of Education to organize this session, which enabled us and young people to learn about the different opinions on the choice of academic specialization and the related studies, which support our joint efforts to work together to explore the best solutions to the various issues facing today's youth and future leaders. It also helps us unite our efforts to establish a better future for them through this initiative, which embodies the great awareness of UAE youth and their ability to put their ideas forward and discuss them in a constructive manner to produce results that we can build upon to address the most pressing issues among UAE youth”.
The supporters of the idea stressed that keeping pace with the process of building and renaissance in the country depends mainly on the creation of a new generation of competencies in areas that keep pace with the directions of the leadership with regard to the preparation for the post-oil stage, and which strengthens their role as partners in building the future of the country. They considered that this is a national duty that motivates young people to choose specializations that meet the strategic plans of the UAE government. They reviewed several models and studies of research centers and reports of ministries and institutions in the UAE, which show the growth rates within different sectors in the country.
Supporters of the idea highlighted the efforts of the Ministry of Education, which come as part of its endeavors to implement the objectives of the National Agenda for the UAE vision 2021 aimed at creating an integrated and sophisticated educational system that is compatible with the rapid changes in order to meet the requirements of the labor market in the future.
They referred to the agreement signed recently by the UAE with Russia to prepare and train UAE's first astronaut, and they mentioned the results of studies reviewed at the World Government Summit that 47% of the existing jobs will be canceled or automated while students in the primary school now will occupy 65% of the jobs to be developed in the future.
On the other hand, the other team stressed that the pursuit of passion and ambition is the best way to choose the academic specialization and thus enter fields of work and disciplines that increase the individual creativity and innovativeness. They discussed global examples of business entrepreneurs who presented unique models that did not exist before thanks to their adherence to their passion and their desire to achieve their aspirations and ambitions.
The team pointed to a study that included a wide range of individuals in India, China, Germany and the United States, which showed that 60% of them did not have the confidence and belief in the existence of fixed trends in the labor market that can be relied on when planning their career path and selecting their academic specialization. This is in view of the changes faced by local or international sectors and their impact on various factors, which pose a major risk to relying on labor market trends.
The other team also praised the efforts of the Ministry of Education’s leadership, and its keenness to build a diversified economy based on knowledge, innovation and investment in competencies. They also praised the efforts of the Ministry that are aimed at providing an interactive learning environment which equips students with a curriculum based on the adoption of modern technologies as an essential basis of education and motivation for creativity.
A committee evaluated the students' interventions and measured the importance of the evidence presented by the students participating in the session. The committee also posed questions and discussed them with the youth in order to identify their views and better understand their aspirations.