The second Roundtable Group Discussion was held in the afternoon of Day 1 of the conference, after the Panel Presentation on TVET in Qatar – Patterns, Trends and Prospects.
Perhaps more than any other educational sector, TVET (Institutions and enterprises) has to react to technological, demographic and socio-economic changes, where change has become the norm:
- technological advancement, e.g., digitization, Industry 4.0, which is creating a shift in labour market demand
- change of economies towards longer value chains, outsourcing
- migration through globalization, internationalization, regionalization (expats, refugees)
- global warming
- green technologies, green consciousness
- an aging population, increased female participation in the labour force.
Roundtable 1 Report
Drivers of economic, social and environmental change in Qatar.
Clearly, Qatar is a wealthy country, resource rich, but with a need to diversify beyond its current narrow base. The very small number of Qatari nationals means that young, school graduates all 'find a place' in the workforce - many join the public service, the Military, the Police, as well as joining other organizations and professions.
With basically 'full employment', many of the visiting scholars asked themselves the question: What is the 'problem' upon which we should focus? For most countries in the world, the challenge is to help young people find a worthwhile place to make a living and to live a good life. If this is not the problem here, what is the key problem?
Some of the issues identified include:
- There is a perception of TVET as being less important than a degree. The challenge is whether industry and business will continue to look for a degree, and if so, what is the education pathway to a degree? Where is the cross-laddering?
- In Qatar, the skills of students coming into the TVET education system vary considerably – some have critical thinking skills, some do not; some have learned independent thinking, some are most familiar with rote learning. It can be very difficult for the higher education system to respond in a coherent way.
- There is a huge non-national population in Qatar, virtually all of who have an uncertain term of residence in Qatar. Can TVET contribute to this wider expat community?
- There is very minimal recycling in Qatar. Is it in the state vision? How can it be included in the mind shift being asked of the education curriculum?
- Gender equity was raised as a challenge in Qatar. How can women be fully embraced into the economic life of Qatar, and fully contribute in proportion to their considerable success in public school.
In response, Qatar continues to be in the midst of phenomenal and massive changes in their physical and economic infrastructure, not the least of which is their increased focus on self-reliance brought on by the ongoing siege.
As well, the extraordinary developments related to FIFA 2022 preparations are causing an arguably temporary mountain of growth, activity and change. Post-2022 economic and societal realities are unclear, and have caused the leadership’s focus to shift beyond oil and gas. This and many other priorities are reflected in the country’s Vision 2030 document. Further, a TVET NQF is in the process of being established in Qatar.
In addition to existing efforts, participants identified the need for:
simulation centres for training
better dissemination of national research and best practices
teachers to be prepared to train learners for sustainability, as well as for specific skills, premised on lifelong learning principles
notwithstanding current initiatives for inclusion, greater efforts need to be made on inclusion as regards immigrants, disabled persons and women
greater collaboration and partnerships in labour market planning
21st century skills, including ethical value set and underpinned with adaptability
a pathways focus for training institutions to offer clear choices to learners
as much as possible, industry’s future requirements need to inform TVET curriculum development.