— Ipek Aydin, Head of PTE for the Middle East & North Africa
As the academic year has come to a close, high schoolers and aspiring master’s degree scholars are preparing to undertake the rigorous application process for a program at a foreign university, perhaps halfway across the world. Pearson’s 2021 Global Learning Survey found that 72% of college students have a new sense of urgency for completing their education. With the pandemic settling down and borders opening up, more students are considering overseas on-campus options only. Studying abroad is a coveted experience for many, as earning an international degree broadens personal and professional horizons and promotes holistic growth.
The first step is to narrow down on the best universities for your program of choice. Cost of living, tuition, career prospects in the country and your overall safety and welfare should be the first few items on your checklist. In the MENA region, the US, Europe, Canada and Australia are among the most popular countries that people immigrate to as a gateway to overall growth.
The next step is to verify the criteria of the application process for your program and university. Your academic transcript, identification documents, personal essay, letters of recommendation, and proof of English proficiency are required by most academic institutions. If you are not a native English speaker, you will have to prove that you can read, write, speak and understand English to comprehend course materials. For this, you will need to sign up for an English-language proficiency test like the PTE Academic, which provides a range of preparation options including Scored Practice Tests, PTE Academic Question Banks, the Official Guide to PTE Academic, and the PTE Academic English Booster, offering access to in-depth information and practical advice on each part of the exam.
Ensure that the language test is accepted by your chosen school so that you don’t waste money on the wrong test. For instance, the computer-based PTE Academic test is accepted by 3,000 academic institutions worldwide in countries such as Australia, the US, the UK, Canada and many more. Moreover, it is approved by governments in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand for all types of visas.
The PTE Academic is also evaluated through an AI-based scoring system, which is 100% unbiased to ensure that the only thing affecting the scores are the candidate’s responses. Candidates can choose a test slot as per their convenience as little as 24 hours earlier than a test session. In the UAE, candidates can take the test at the official test centres such as The Exam Preparation and Testing House located at Dubai Silicon Oasis, or JnS Training & Testing Centre in Business Bay or at the UAE Academy in Abu Dhabi. The test can even be taken from the comfort of your home. Additionally, PTE Academic declares its results in 48 hours making it easier for test-takers to make informed decisions about their course of action.
With the onset of the pandemic, millions of students migrated from physical classrooms to online ones at an accelerated pace. During this shift, technology has played an essential part in transforming pedagogical tools. The integration of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into courses has increased substantially across higher education, reshaping education and making learning more adaptable, accessible, and interactive.
Below are the highlights of Pearson’s findings and forecasts:
● The rise of digital material: There is a seismic shift towards e-texts. Sifting through multiple text pages for a specific topic is much more efficient with digital books than with physical ones. The possibility of adding interactive elements and built-in homework assignments offers flexibility to both teachers and students.
● Corporation-university partnerships: As demand-driven learning gains momentum, corporations are benefiting from collaborating with higher education institutions to offer working professionals the opportunity to reskill/upskill and recruit the right talents, while universities gain valuable insights to better prepare graduates for employment.
● Micro-courses: Often cost-effective, short courses help in a competitive job market by providing valuable networking opportunities and helping uncover career interests. They remain the best way to address a digital soft skill gap considered as a major business threat by 81% of CEOs in the Middle East, according to a survey conducted by PwC.
● Online proctored tests: The global market size for proctored exams is estimated to increase to a whopping $1,068 million by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 20.8%. Most educational institutions will adopt online tests, making their examination process more resilient, convenient and accessible. In this regard, Pearson’s MyLab & Mastering programs provide actionable insight based on class and student performance while safeguarding the integrity and academic honesty in distance education.
Majid Mneymneh, Vice President, Higher Education Middle East and Africa, commented on these trends: “The next few years in higher education are sure to witness a tech revolution that will completely transform our understanding of teaching and learning. The industry is well on its way to embracing new digital approaches, not just a stopgap answer, but as long-term solutions to the current disruption of the educational landscape. The forecasts help us understand the current needs of our customers and as a result create comprehensive learning solutions that benefit everyone equally.”
The 2021 Global Learner Survey by Pearson suggested that the pandemic is forging a stronger generation. With 90% of people believing internet access to be a basic human right, the future of education is bound to be driven by new & innovative technologies. As a leading learning company, Pearson has been playing an integral role in providing the education community with quality content, courses & innovative platforms to navigate through this digital transformation.
At Pearson, our purpose is simple: to add life to a lifetime of learning. We believe that every learning opportunity is a chance for a personal breakthrough. That’s why our c.20,000 Pearson employees are committed to creating vibrant and enriching educational experiences designed for real-life impact. We are the world’s leading learning company, serving customers in nearly 200 countries with digital content, data, assessments and qualifications. Visit us at pearsonplc.com
The panel discussed some of the current challenges faced by education sector, possible solutions and future outlook for 2022 and beyond in a post-Covid-19 world
11 March 2022, Dubai, U.A.E — Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, recently organized an insightful panel discussion on the topic “Is Higher Education Changing?” as part of its first Higher Education Middle East & Africa Conference 2022. The theme for the event was “Growing Together”, as a part of Pearson’s commitment to bring the broader education ecosystem together and contribute towards shaping up the future of higher education in the region. It invited participation from some of the key industry leaders & prominent academic institutions including, University of Jeddah, Khalifa university, Mancosa university and MEF University.
Today, the global higher education sector has been momentously transformed as a consequence of the recent pandemic and rapid technological disruption across industries. A report by World Bank shows how MENA countries have responded resiliently towards this change by shifting to digital & with some universities in countries like KSA delivering over 7,000 virtual classes to appx. 1m learners during the lockdown. The demand for digital content and assessments is on a rise and govt. bodies are now looking at how the gap between education & employability can be bridged through upskilling, reskilling programmes, and aligning learning outcomes to the dynamic market needs. A survey conducted by PwC indicates that, 81% of CEOs in the Middle East term this skill gap as a major business threat, especially for a future where 5G connectivity, cloud computing, AI and more advanced technology will gain popularity. Against this backdrop, the panel discussion helped uncover some valuable insights around the outlook for 21st century higher education in a post-Covid-19 world.
Six Key Takeaways from the discussion
The pendulum is shifting from brick-and-mortar to digital. Educators, learners, and institutional partners are demanding better online experiences.
Students want to take ownership over their learning and are developing more career-oriented & entrepreneurial mindset.
Better user design, interactive digital content, and ways to assess students in online and blended environments to be the way forward.
Increase in demand for soft and job-related skills and more emphasis on English language learning being seen by the industry.
Increased preference for short courses or micro-grams and other affordable options from those looking to rejoin the workforce.
Today’s educators should focus on critical thinking, project-based learning and encouraging peer-to-peer learning i.e., building a learning community.
Sharing his thoughts on the session, Majid Mneymneh, Vice President, Higher Education Middle East and Africa, said: “The next few years in higher education are poised to herald a tech revolution and major changes. We are now moving towards a world wherein learn-on-the-go models will become prominent, and a seamless integration of content, virtual platforms and immersive technologies will be required. At Pearson, we recognize our responsibility towards contributing to this evolving education ecosystem, which is why we are initiating these conversations with the relevant stakeholders in the education industry, to understand the demands and to build relevant partnerships, upgrade our offerings, introduce new-age courses, and work with the overall academic community to help learners prepare for the future job market. The insights discussed on the panel will help us understand the current needs of institutes, faculty, learners and accordingly come up with innovative solutions to create an outcome-based learning framework.”
The panellists comprising of Prof. Ramzi Al Saedi, Dean of College of Science University of Jeddah, KSA; Dr Asli Hassan, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, Khalifa University, UAE; Prof Zaheer Hamid, Director, Academic/Chief Academic Officer, Mancosa University, South Africa; and Prof. Dr Erhan Erkut, Vice Rector, MEF University, Turkey touched on many topics under the umbrella of how higher education is advancing. The panellists discussed the importance and need for flexibility that emerged over the last 2 years and the increased demand for easy access to more interactive digital content so that students can learn on-the-go. One-on-one online tutoring was found to be extremely popular as this meant that students could get individual attention anytime, anywhere. The discussion also
covered the evidence of the necessity for a wide range of programs from full-time and part-time to micro-grams, boot camps, blended, and online learning. All panellists agreed that hybrid learning is undoubtedly the future of the education sector. In such a scenario, choosing the right partner is crucial to improve the landscape for students and faculty as they play at the intersection of offering digitally innovative, academic content and critical skills for employability. This can help education institutions, especially when it comes to customizing courses at an institutional level, to deliver a market-driven need.
Over the last two years, MENA’ economic recovery has been fast and primarily tech-driven, with digital nomads and entrepreneurs playing a pivotal role. Partnerships with institutions’ alumni and companies in the private and public sectors have proven essential to providing employment and semester-driven courses are slowly becoming obsolete with students looking to affordably acquire or improve market-driven skills in shorter time frames. Pearson as a learning company has been playing an integral role in providing the education community with quality content, courses & innovative platforms to navigate through this digital transformation.
At Pearson, our purpose is simple: to add life to a lifetime of learning. We believe that every learning opportunity is a chance for a personal breakthrough. That’s why our c.20,000 Pearson employees are committed to creating vibrant and enriching learning experiences designed for real-life impact. We are the world’s leading learning company, serving customers in nearly 200 countries with digital content, assessments, qualifications, and data. For us, learning isn’t just what we do. It’s who we are. Visit us at pearsonplc.com
For more information, please contact: Bhavya Suri, Director- PR & Corporate Affairs, Pearson MENA (firstname.lastname@example.org)
College students gained an increased interest in social and civic issues, reconsidered career aspirations, and gained mental resilience despite global pandemic
LONDON, 26 May 2021 — Pearson, the world's leading learning company, released the results from the first installment of the 2021 Global Learner Survey Series – a study that explores how the pandemic impacted what college students learned in and beyond the classroom. Over the past year, students globally have experienced countless hurdles in their education since the onset of the pandemic. This study reveals that for Gen Z, learning has taken on many forms globally due to altered societal, career, and long-term mental health views. The study dives into what Gen Z has gained as a result of this educational shift and how it will impact their plans for the future.
"The results of this year’s Global Learner Survey showcased that while students around the world have faced adversity with shifts in education, they’ve gained life skills – both social and educational, that opened their eyes to the importance of continued perseverance, finding silver linings, and reassessing future paths based on those new skills,” said Mickey Revenaugh, co-founder of Pearson’s Connections Academy. "It’s inspiring to see that despite the difficulties brought on by the pandemic, Gen Z has remained resilient and is determined to not let it hold them back any further.”
Increased Empathy Drives a Spike in Civic Responsibility
Gen Z is already known for their strong political activism and this study reveals that during the pandemic they’ve learned empathy and gained a new appreciation for the struggles of others. As students around the world experienced a major virtual transition, they have an increased interest in social or civic issues, such as racial, education, and healthcare equality.
67% of college students report an increased interest in social or civic issues with 85% of college students saying they gained a new appreciation for the struggles of others.
63% of college students report an increased interest in racial equality, 53% in education equality and 52% in healthcare equality.
87% of college students report the belief that internet access is a basic human right and 92% believe governments should be doing more to provide it.
Societal Awareness Sparks New Perspectives on Life and Career
Gen Z has gained some new viewpoints on their career paths – a growing entrepreneurial spirit and considerations to jump into industries that were particularly influenced by the pandemic.
56% of college students are reconsidering their career path.
45% of college students have been inspired to consider a career in healthcare and science due to the pandemic.
53% of college students are interested in being an entrepreneur and starting their own business.
72% of college students have found a new sense of urgency for completing their education.
Mental Health Takes a Front Seat Amidst a Surge of Anxiety Brought on by Global Health and Diversity Issues
While the pandemic has been an emotional burden on college students, they see themselves becoming better and stronger through self-motivation, adaptability, and new personal skills.
69% of college students say the disruption to their education has been a serious source of stress, anxiety, mental health issues, and financial hardship.
80% of college students say their generation will become more resilient because of the diversity faced during the pandemic.
More than two-thirds of college students say they've grown as a person, with self-motivation, adaptability and emotional resiliency being the top skills gained.
66% of college students say they have developed new hobbies during the pandemic with reading, gaming, and cooking among the top three.
This poll was conducted from April 28 – May 12, 2021, among a sample of 2,000 college students in 4 countries: Brazil, China, United Kingdom, United States. The interviews were conducted online. Results in each country are representative of the online population of that country with a margin of error of plus and minus 2 percentage points.
Learning is the most powerful force for change in the world. More than 20,000 Pearson employees deliver our products and services in nearly 200 countries, all working towards a common purpose – to help everyone achieve their potential through learning. We do that by providing high quality, digital content and learning experiences, as well as assessments and qualifications that help people build their skills and grow with the world around them. We are the world’s leading learning company. Learn more at pearsonplc.com
Pearson, the world’s learning company, will be hosting a LIVE webinar for learners and educators across the globe to discuss the latest trends in digitalisation of the education sector and to explore what the future holds for students and educators.
The fallout from COVID-19 has led to continuation of advancement in digital technologies and an unprecedented opportunity to transform and re-invent the education systems. The sudden shift in the learning environment led to significant trends being witnessed in the digital transformation for the education sector. During this transition, technology has played a crucial role in enabling students and educators to stay connected, engaged and motivated. Teachers around the world are innovating their learning journey by incorporating video lessons, VR, game-based learning, and other powerful collaborations tools to deliver a lasting impact.
The interactive webinar scheduled for Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 at 4 pm GST will have Pearson Middle East Lead Instructional Designer Elizabeth Topolskaya lean on 'Digitalisation in Education', breaking down the new methods of learning and teaching to five primary aspects: Improved Access, Student-centred Learning, Innovative Learning Modalities, Big Data and Redesigned Learning environments.
According to a report by Global Market Insights, by the year 2026, the worldwide eLearning market is expected to reach well over $375 billion. With improved access to education, shift to student-centred learning approach, focus on innovative learning modalities and redesigned learning environments, diverse students are willing to engage and educate themselves in learning experiences that focus on developing skills, attitudes, and dispositions for global competence.
Covid-19 has undeniably changed the world of education. From elementary and secondary schools to colleges and universities, the industry is constantly evolving.
With the sudden shift away from the classroom, teaching and learning approach changed dramatically at an unprecedented speed, and the education technology (EdTech) was forced to up its game quickly. Even before Covid-19, there was already high growth and adoption in education technology. Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since the pandemic started and industry leaders suggest that the changes Covid-19 has caused for the education industry might be here to stay.
The changes in the classroom of the future aren’t happening in a faraway time, the truth is, it is happening right now at a lighting speed. There will be even more changes in the future.
Ozhan Toktas, Managing Director at Pearson Middle East and Africa shares some insights on the road towards studying after COVID-19.
The rise of online learning
The pandemic has accelerated digital disruption in Dh246-billion education sector of the GCC region. EdTech is growing at 16.3 per cent and will grow 2.5 times from 2019 to 2025, reaching $404 billion in total global expenditure. Technology has made it extremely easy for everyone to stay connected. It has bridged the gap between teachers and students and made the whole learning approach a collaborative one. The benefits of this model of learning far exceed the traditional one. The use of digital materials supplemented with AR/VR software in the classroom, the use of a learning management system, classroom management tools designed to keep students on task, limit distractions and improve concentration on course material are all benefits that accompany the implementation of education software tools.
For 2021, we believe mLearning and eLearning will further grow in popularity as it helps students learn at their own pace and time and is proven to be a convenient method of delivering as well as receiving the education. One of the main reasons for the adoption of this type of learning is the fit with current pedagogical and standards, namely the move from teacher-led to student-led learning. In this approach, when students team up together to work on a project or solve a problem, it helps build their collaborative skills; the constant interaction between teachers and students or with their peers helps develop their interpersonal skills.
According to the Global Learner Survey 2020, 88% of individuals worldwide believe that education should take advantage of technology to maximize the learning experience for students of all ages.
Bringing technology into the classroom will create an interactive environment where students are entirely involved in their learning process, which has become a priority for many schools and universities.
Nano degrees as the New Must
In the corporate world, an exploratory study conducted recently on the skills gap in the market revealed 75% of HR professionals report difficulty recruiting in the past 12 months due to skills gap in job candidates. 52% of them say the skills shortage has worsened in the past 2 years, with the gap being most visible in the trades, middle-skilled jobs and high-skilled STEM jobs. Moreover, the skills gap is bound to leave a damaging impact on the economy over the next decade.
On the other hand, 1 in 5 workers says their professional skills are not up to date. To address this gap, business leaders are now looking to invest in skills planning which ensures the skills align with the needs of the workforce.
Nanodegrees, the content of which is in line with the requirements of large multinationals, HR heads and market specialists are set to revolutionize the world of training and access to cutting-edge jobs on a global scale. These 6-12-month extended programs done in collaboration with renowned education partners will allow individuals to build deep enough skillset in a specific area in order to be able to successfully find jobs.
Nanodegree courses isn’t just a new trend to follow because it is cool, the certificate at the end of the course will attest an individual’s new knowledge and practical skills and will be a valuable asset on the CV.
Career focused skills
For generations, we have spent the first third of our lives acquiring the college degrees we need to find jobs, which implied that the nature of our work, along with the skills and knowledge required to execute it, remains unchanged for a lifetime – which of course is no longer true. Hard facts and skills of most of the disciplines are changing as technology ripples through the economy and society.
Today’s generation is inclined to have many jobs and careers through their professional lives, perhaps even at the same time, with the maturing of the gig economy. The soft skills of creative thinking, critical thinking, communication, and leadership do not go out of date and remain in demand by employers. The combination of basic knowledge and skills may not require a degree. The future of work will not be about college degrees; it will be about job skills. The time is now to shift our focus from degrees to skills to enable a bigger workforce that represents the diversity of our populations and will help close the all too familiar opportunity and employment gaps.
Demand for international higher education will continue to grow
The global demand for international study would continue along the existing trajectory of about 6 per cent growth per year. Some of the most attractive study destinations would include Australia, Canada, New Zealand and US.
Despite the fact that countries closed their borders to contain the spread of COVID-19, 74% students are still nurturing their dream to study in a foreign country. The growth in study abroad participation is being fuelled by the growth in short-term programming. The demand for studying STEM fields is estimated to make up the largest group of students studying abroad by field, followed by business, social science, foreign languages and international studies, and fine and applied arts.
It has been witnessed from the past models that student mobility has proven surprisingly resilient to shocks, such as the global financial crisis or commodity crashes. In fact, in some cases, and for some groups of students, participation in higher education courses increases at times of economic downturn as individuals see the slowdown in the job market as an opportunity to gain new qualifications.
One of the essential requirements for students to study abroad is a valid score card of an accepted English Proficiency Test. Online testing and proctoring for these tests has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, helping both students and education providers during this period of disruption by encouraging students to continue with their aspiration to study abroad and for the universities to continue accepting applications for degree programs.
Upskilling, Reskilling and Preparing for the Future
Since the industrial revolution in the 19th century, technologies have been changing, growing and adapting at an ever-increasing rate. The World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Jobs Report predicts that by 2022, 75 million jobs across 20 major economies will be displaced by emerging technologies. The same report highlights that 133 million new roles are expected to be created by these very same technological advances.
With employees looking for a sharp growth curve and organizations facing continuous change triggered by ongoing digital transformation, it’s important for companies to rethink learning and development in the workplace.
In the near future, we will be looking at upskilling and reskilling from a dual perspective, on the one hand, as business models change and technology gains more prominence, employees with both hard and soft skills can steer organizational success in the right direction while on the other hand learning opportunities and on-the-job coaching for career development will become a significant need for the future workforce and an employer branding advantage.
The event was designed to take a deep dive on bringing economics to life with data-driven, innovative pedagogies and develop students to take the leap into their career
15 December 2020, Dubai, UAE - Pearson Middle East, the world’s learning company recently hosted a virtual event ‘Making Data Talk!’ with Michael Parkin, Professor Emeritus in the Economics Department at the University of Western Ontario to empower the Middle East educators, in this digitally-driven world, to bring economics to life and develop students who are ready to leap into their career and the real world.
The event aimed at diving deep into how to support Economics educators to make data talk in their classrooms, sharing tips for university educators and leaders and looking through the lens of data-driven, innovative pedagogies to implement a range of new teaching strategies.
During the interactive sessions, Professor Parkin shared valuable insights on driving student engagement in the classroom using technology, how to make economic models come alive interpreting events in today’s data-rich world and how to use the data from natural experiments generated by Covid-19. He also shed some light on the power of Pearson’s MyLab Economics as a teaching and learning tool along with a demonstration on how it facilitates the delivery of this data-led approach.
“Research shows that teachers are not trained on how to use extensive data to reflect on student progress or to differentiate instruction. In today’s world, it is extremely essential to use elaborate and diverse data from the online environment to identify learnings gaps, and to use the data to design lesson options to address those gaps, to enhance student performance while addressing student learning needs,” commented Majid Mneymneh, Vice President- Higher Education and Corporate at Pearson Middle East.
Pearson’s MyLab Economics is built for flexibility where professors connect with their students in a meaningful and impactful way, even from a distance. The digital platform lets education specialists create a learning experience to best fit the unique needs of their curriculum and their students. Each course has a foundation of interactive course-specific content — by authors who are experts in their field — that can be tailored and assigned as each educator sees fit.
Reflecting on his experience through the event. Professor Michael Parkin commented:“Despite its terrible effects on health and incomes, COVID has strengthened the opportunity educators have to harness the power of technology for better learning experiences that support future-ready learners, equipped to face, understand, respond to and act on real-world challenges - COVID and beyond”.
More than 50 educators from the Middle East registered to this virtual event. They enjoyed the interactive and focused sessions, asked and received replies from Parkin and had hands-on experience with MyLab Economics. They knew more about how to make economic models come alive through data projects to engage their students, ways to interpret events in today’s data-rich world to encourage students to apply theory to practice, and how to use the data from natural experiments generated by Covid-19 to further support students to understand real-life economics. Most of all, they enjoyed the community of like-minded educators who were brought together in such an event.
“Pearson Middle East works with educators and institutions to support learner needs and deliver measurable results, enabling students everywhere to fulfil their potential and prepare them to be a part of the future workforce,” added Majid.
Pearson, the world’s learning company recently hosted a virtual roundtable, bringing together more than 25 leading Corporate and HR professionals from various industries in the Middle East region to identify and discuss the emerging HR trends and priorities, the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on corporate hires and the implications business leaders should anticipate for their organizations.
The roundtable was held in association with Corporate Shiksha, the innovative learning company enabling people to learn every day and prepare for the future of work through a unique Master Class series based on experiential learning pedagogy, on the theme - Digital Transformation - the new normal for the work and workforce.
“The UAE’s economy like all other global economies has been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, and the faster recovery will depend on how quickly and sustainably companies can accelerate digital transformation, adapt to the new consumer demands and retain people who have the right skills and expertise. Now that the economy is on the cusp of recovery, the role of HR is becoming even more important, whether companies want to recruit the right people, assess their current staff’s skills, or develop and upskill their best talent.” stated Majid Mneymneh, Vice President- Higher Education and Corporate.
During the pandemic, it was well noticed that the workforce of the future needs a re-set. In planning for and implementing the restart, the new work culture patterns around the globe reveal that entities’ focus is now placed on productivity and output and hiring workers with the right skills, and/or improving the skills of their existing workforce, so that they can contribute effectively and drive value.
“We at Corporate Shiksha are both excited & grateful, with all the encouragement and support we are getting as we move forward in building the learning community in the Middle East. Our purpose is to create a vibrant community of leaders focused on learning actionable insights, sharing innovative people practices, tech solutions around work, workplace, talent, and culture – and help in learning from an outside-in perspective. Our belief is the strength of the community is in its people, so if you are a business or HR Leader based in the Middle East, request to join the #CSInsightsForum at https://bit.ly/UAE-Invite” stated Ankur Sethi, Founder & CEO, Corporate Shiksha.
The roundtable shed light on how Digital Transformation in the present scenario is shaping the future of work, leading to a new normal and its multi-dimensional impact on workforce & talent. As revealed by a poll that took place during the session, employee well-being and enhancing employee engagement & experience were the most critical priorities for HR professionals at the moment, while others included identifying and retaining the right, digital-savvy talent, building critical skills for the workforce by looking at micro learning, peer learning as concepts to prepare people for the #NewNormal, change management and empowering them to work in new ways by giving day-to-day tools a digital upgrade. All this is required to build organizational resilience and can help brands thrive in the post-pandemic world.
“In 2019, the economy grew by 1.4 per cent, and in 2020 experts are estimating UAE’s GDP to contract by 5.2 per cent. The economic fallout of the pandemic has led to organizations facilitating digital transformation. Being seen a strategic arm for business, HR professionals are now faced with new priorities focused on employee’s well-being with the increased work from home; skills assessment and training with shifting business priorities and flexible roles and responsibilities; and recruiting virtually to acquire new needed skills. L&D budgets across most industries and sectors will likely be cut in the near-term as companies work to cut costs amidst declining profits. That said, employee retention will remain important. “ added Mneymneh.
Pearson’s Corporate solutions covers the 4 fundamental aspects that companies and organizations need to reach their full potential i.e, recruitment, development, certification and employee experience. The company partners with top institutions to provide corporates with globally recognized, industry-relevant programs, with the competitive advantage of allowing both the employers and the employees develop critical skills and respond to the new market demands.
Going forward, the company aims to host more such roundtables to build a vibrant learning community in the region and provide a much more deeper understanding on specific themes
بيرسون الشرق الأوسط تعقد حلقة نقاش لمتخصصي الموارد البشرية حول مائدة مستديرة افتراضية لمناقشة الاتجاهات المستقبلية في الواقع الجديد
استضافت بيرسون، الشركة التعليمية العالمية الرائدة مؤخرًا مائدة مستديرة افتراضية جمعت أكثر من 25 من قيادات الشركات والمتخصصين في قطاع الموارد البشرية من مختلف الصناعات في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وذلك لتحديد ومناقشة الأولويات والاتجاهات الناشئة في قطاع الموارد البشرية، وخاصة تأثير انتشار جائحة كوفيد-19 طويل الأجل على منهجية التوظيف والآثار التي على قادة وأصحاب الشركات توقعها فيما يخص شركاتهم.
هذا وقد تم عقد المائدة المستديرة بالتعاون معCorporate Shiksha ، شركة التعلم المبتكرة التي تمكّن الأفراد من التعلم بصورة يومية والاستعداد لمستقبل العمل من خلال سلسلة جلسات ماستر كلاس (Master Class) متميزة تستند على التعلم التجريبي حول موضوع - التحول الرقمي - الواقع الجديد لـلشركات والقوى العاملة.
وبهذه المناسبة، علّق السيد مجيد منيمنة، نائب الرئيس، القسم التجاري للتعليم العالي والشركات في بيرسون الشرق الأوسط، قائلاً: "لقد أثر تفشي فيروس كورونا المستجد على اقتصاد دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة مثل جميع الاقتصادات العالمية الأخرى، وستعتمد سرعة التعافي الاقتصادي على مدى مرونة الشركات واستدامتها، خاصة في تسريع التحول الرقمي والتكيف مع متطلبات المستهلكين الجديدة، وبتركيز خاص على الاحتفاظ بالموظفين الذين يتمتعون بالمهارات المناسبة والخبرات الكافية. والآن، وقد أوشك الاقتصاد على التعافي، برز دور الموارد البشرية وأصبح أكثر أهمية، سواء كانت الشركات ترغب في توظيف الأشخاص المناسبين، تقييم مهارات موظفيها الحاليين، أو تطوير مهاراتهم وصقل قدراتهم."
أصبح من الجليّ في خلال فترة انتشار الوباء أن هناك حاجة ملحة إلى وضع خطط ومنهجية مستقبلية لإعادة توجيه وضبط القوى العاملة. عند التخطيط لتنفيذ ذلك، كشفت ثقافة العمل الجديدة حول العالم أن تركيز الشركات أصبح ينصبُّ الآن على ركائز معينة تدور حول الإنتاجية والمخرجات وتوظيف العمال ذوي المهارات المناسبة، أو تحسين مهارات القوى العاملة الحالية بصورة تمكّنها من المساهمة بفعالية لتحقيق القيمة للشركات التي تعمل بها.
ومن جهته، صرح السيد أنكور سيثي، المؤسس والرئيس التنفيذي في Corporate Shiksha قائلاً: "نحن في غاية الحماس والامتنان للتشجيع والدعم الذي يشجعنا دومًا على المضي قدمًا في بناء مجتمع التعلم في الشرق الأوسط. هدفنا هو إنشاء مجتمع حيوي يركز على تعليم وتعلّم الرؤى القابلة للتنفيذ، المشاركات والممارسات المبتكرة، تفعيل الحلول التقنية في بيئة العمل، وتنمية المواهب والثقافات، وكذلك إمعان النظر في التعلّم والمساعدة عليه بموضوعية. نحن نؤمن بشدة أن قوة المجتمع تكمن في أفراده، لذلك إذا كنت من رواد الأعمال أو الموارد البشرية في الشرق الأوسط، نشجعك على الانضمام إلى ندوة سي أس آي (#CSInsightsForum) وذلك باستخدام الرابط: https://bit.ly/UAE-Invite للتسجيل."
ومن جهة أخرى، سلطت المائدة المستديرة الضوء على دور التحول الرقمي في استشراف وتشكيل مستقبل العمل، مما يؤدي إلى واقع جديد، وتأثير هذا الواقع متعدد الأبعاد على القوى العاملة والمواهب. كما اتضح من استطلاع تم إجراؤه خلال الجلسة أن رفاهية الموظفين وتعزيز مشاركتهم وخبراتهم من أهم الأولويات للمتخصصين بقطاع الموارد البشرية في الوقت الحالي، بينما تضمنت الأولويات الأخرى تحديد المواهب الرقمية المناسبة والاحتفاظ بها، تطوير مهارات القوى العاملة من خلال النظر إلى التعلم الجزئي والتعلم من الأقران كمفاهيم لإعداد الأفراد لـ #الواقع_الجديد، وكذلك مساعدتهم في التعامل مع التغيير وتمكينهم من العمل بطرق جديدة وذلك بترقية الأدوات اليومية لتصبح رقمية. هذه كلها أمور مطلوبة وضرورية لتحقيق المرونة التنظيمية ومساعدة العلامات التجارية على الازدهار بعد انتهاء الجائحة.
وأضاف السيد منيمنة، "في عام 2019، شهد الاقتصاد نموًا بنسة 1.4٪، ويقدر الخبراء أن ينكمش الناتج المحلي الإجمالي لدولة الإمارات في عام 2020 بنسبة 5.2٪. لقد أدّت التداعيات الاقتصادية للوباء إلى تسريع التحول الرقمي في المؤسسات والشركات. ونظرًا لمركزهم القوي كالذراع الاستراتيجي للشركات، يواجه متخصصو الموارد البشرية الآن أولويات جديدة تركز على رفاهية الموظفين، خاصة مع زيادة معدلات العمل من المنزل، ناهيك عن تقييم المهارات والتدريب مع أخذ أولويات العمل المتغيرة والأدوار والمسؤوليات المرنة بعين الاعتبار، مرورًا بالتوظيف أونلاين لزيادة المهارات الجديدة المطلوبة في الشركات. ومن المرجح أن يتم تخفيض ميزانيات التعلم والتطوير في معظم الصناعات والقطاعات في المستقبل القريب بينما تعمل الشركات على خفض التكاليف وسط انخفاض الأرباح. ومع ذلك، سيظل من المهم جدًا على الشركات الاحتفاظ بموظفيها."
تغطي الحلول التي تطورها وتقدمها بيرسون للشركات أربعة محاور أساسية تحتاجها الشركات والمؤسسات لتحقيق كامل إمكاناتها، مثل التوظيف والتطوير والشهادات وتجربة الموظفين. تتعاون بيرسون مع أفضل المؤسسات لتزويد الشركات ببرامج عالمية وثيقة الصلة بالمجالات المختلفة، مع ميزة تنافسية تتمثل في تمكين أصحاب العمل والموظفين من تطوير مهاراتهم الأساسية والاستجابة للمتطلبات الجديدة في السوق.
هذا وتهدف بيرسون الشرق الأوسط إلى عقد المزيد من هذه الموائد المستديرة لبناء مجتمع تعليمي حيوي في المنطقة وتوفير فهم أعمق للموضوعات المختلفة.
By Majid Mneymneh, Vice President Higher Education and Corporate, Pearson Middle East
The recent global Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a significant impact over the corporate world. Apart from the health of millions being at stake, the long term livelihoods and careers of people have also been disrupted and how much will the business or economy will change in the post-pandemic world or will COVID-19 have a drastic impact on talent strategies, are some of the tough questions that leaders and organizations across the globe are grappling with.
With remote or virtual working from home becoming the norm, acceleration of digital skills and technologies and emergence of new job roles and employer demands in the market, it is critical to get a sense of what the corporate landscape might look like in the future, so that we are able to plan accordingly. Now, more than ever, making the right decisions in terms of talent management are central to how companies can reimagine their personnel practices to build organizational resilience and drive value. The importance of this can also be understood through an article in Forbes which talks about the cost of Bad or mis-hiring to a company: “According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the price of a bad hire is at least 30 percent of the employee's first-year earnings; a five-figure investment in the wrong person can be a potential threat to the business.” For this reason, finding and hiring the right people, learning and growing, managing and rewarding performance, tailoring the employee experience, and optimizing workforce planning and strategy are the five key areas which should be focused upon, for CHROs to craft a strong and durable talent strategy for the post pandemic world.
In this article, listed are some of the best practices for companies to manage talent and recruitment challenges, offer opportunities to their employees for learning & development and navigate through the crisis with innovation:
Make hiring decisions with confidence – Assess by design Whether organizations are freezing, stabilizing or increasing hiring, the opportunity exists for employers to reevaluate their recruitment process and make it more robust and efficient.
One way is to use talent assessment tools as part of the hiring steps. Talent assessments by design are meant to provide insight into the strengths and weaknesses of an individual. Some assessments can even provide a profile report that can predict performance and assess a candidate’s suitability at any level or position within the company. Platforms such as Pearson Talent Lens provide employers and organizations with tools that help them to gain a deeper understanding of a person’s values, needs, strengths and weaknesses, so that they are able to identify the right people for their business.
Implementation of these kind of scientifically valid, reliable and robust psychometric assessments during the early hiring process and their continued usage can lead to an active employee development, which is absolutely critical for companies to be successful and become future-ready with the right and best talent on board. It also shows investment in brand’s long-term success and addresses the significant employability relevance gap by identifying fundamental abilities and skills that an individual requires to be successful at the workplace at any level in his/her career.
Upskilling employees is necessary and short programs will continue to be popular
While new skills can be acquired, upskilling existing employees is still important. Not only, as mentioned above, to show the support of company to their own staff and to be sought after but also as this make a lot of sense financially. A recent research showed that it can cost as much as six times more to hire from the outside than to build from within. While this calculation varies significantly based on the occupation and job function, it presents a strong case for employers to consider reskilling.
Pearson’s Global Learner Survey 2020 indicates a strong need in attaining digital skills among respondents to thrive through and beyond the pandemic. More than half of the respondents said they need new digital skills because their job status has changed, with 89% saying they need digital skills, such as virtual collaboration and data analysis to move forward in this economy. Indeed, 77% of people say working remotely has taught them they need different skills than what was needed while working in an office.
As COVID-19 accelerates the speed and scale of digital transformation, the lack of digital skills could jeopardize companies who have not aligned their talent plans. Technology skills for instance, are no longer highly centered in IT, they need to be aligned across all organizational functions and businesses along with soft skills to achieve success. There is a need for employers to upskill/reskill and it is widely recognized that this type of support can come from an external party like an education consulting body that, using their deep expertise in research, assessment powered by technology as well as understanding of how people learn, could share valuable insights on more effective tactics for corporates on talent assessment and management to sail effectively through these turbulent times.
By looking at different pathways for individuals and employees to upskill and reskill, employers can avoid financial risk, increase productivity, improve employee morale, boost customer satisfaction and more importantly prevent loss of business.
Invest in online and blended professionals’ courses – the new emerging pedagogy
Research shows that the biggest hurdle to upskilling is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for working professionals to take time off from their day to day job tasks and pursue full-time professional courses or formal education. With the emergence of online and blended learning, employers and employees can now bridge the skills gap with digital and virtual professional learning programs. In fact, according to UNESCO, one and half billion students across the world have engaged in remote learning at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, showcasing an accelerated trend to online learning.
Traditional face to face- 3 to 5 days training has proven not be very efficient in term of learning impact. We are all familiar with the “The Forgetting Curve.”, which found that if new information isn’t applied, learner will forget about 75% of it after just six days. That’s where blended learning can be more impactful where the learner get access to the online content for a prolonged time to go through it and have the time to reflect and immerse in it, some face to face workshops for the instruction and intervention to happen and learner to grasp concepts, and finally to practice those learnings.
While online learning can provide a good cost-efficient alternative to traditional training and can reach a larger numbers of employees at a much lower cost, not all training can be done online and be efficacious. The right mix between online and blended can be found while weighting multiple factors that help decide type of content, target audience, development and delivery consideration.
The present moment is a significant opportunity to reimagine how, and what, education and skills are required to prepare people for a rapidly changing world of work. What we essentially need is a cultural leap from a reactive approach to an anticipatory one and we need to constantly aim to bridge the gap by understanding the needs of employers and helping individuals address those needs through the development of technical skills and competencies. Pearson’s Corporate solutions covers the 4 fundamental aspects that companies and organizations need to reach their full potential i.e, recruitment, development, certification and employee experience. It is a new way of developing, evaluating, and certifying the skills of working professionals, with the competitive advantage of allowing both the employers and the employees develop skills and techniques through trainings and professional development solutions that will help you improve your performance through continuous learning and respond to the new market demands.
Six live webinars to discuss the opportunities
and challenges facing the education industry and beyond in #TheNewNormal
Pearson, the world’s learning company, announced the program for its second webinar series comprising of six interactive, live sessions for educators across the Middle East and beyond. To address the unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on schools, Pearson will bring together leaders from the education industry in the Middle East and other countries globally, including Sheika Hind Al Mualla, Board Member, Chief of Creativity, Happiness and Innovation at KHDA, Dubai.
The free-to-attend, live, interactive webinars will examine the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the education industry, how to navigate this time and plan for re-entry and beyond. Educators will find powerful strategies to help them overcome the persistent challenges in education as a result of Covid-19 and to provide equitable learning experiences for all students.
Pearson recently revealed the findings of their second annual Global Learner Survey, capturing the opinions and views of learners worldwide, in which three out of every four learners globally say the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed education. The survey participants also agreed that Covid-19 provided a catalyst for modernizing education, with 88% respondents in favor of online learning being part of children’s education experience in primary, secondary and higher education.
Emma Whale, Vice President – Schools, Pearson Middle East commented, “In the past few months, we have witnessed that educational institutions have quickly and responsibly adapted to the learning challenges in the midst of a pandemic. Due to the overwhelming success of the first series of #TheNewNormal by Pearson, we are pleased to announce the details of the second webinar series which will specifically address the changing landscape of education across the region and aim to support teachers and school leaders with strategies and solutions to improve resilience in the education industry in the years ahead.”According to the Global Learner Survey, 66% respondents appreciated the heroic efforts taken by educational institutions during the outbreak of Covid-19 believing they did a good job adapting to the needs of students with remarkable innovation to support learning and teaching.
The six-webinar series includes:
Schools in #TheNewNormal: How was it for you?, 22 September, 7:30 pm GST (experts: Janecke Aarnaes, Director – Universal American School, Dubai; Kieron Peacock, Retired Headmaster – The English School, Kuwait; Dr Arunabh Singh, Director – Nehru World School, India; Dr Mary Ashun, Principal – Ghana International School, Ghana). The principals’ panel will reveal the lessons that have already been learned and consider what school in the ‘new normal’ looks like and how will it lead us forward into a better future.
Re-imagining childhood in #TheNewNormal, 29 September, 7:30 pm GST (experts: Eric Abrams, Chief Inclusion Officer – Stanford University Graduate School of Education, USA; Crispin Evans, Consultant, Teacher, Senior Leader and Lecturer, UK; Gillian Walnes Perry MBE, Co-founder and Honorary Vice President – Anne Frank Trust, UK; Professor Carla Rinaldi, President – Fondazione Reggio Children, Italy). Topic: In the world of Covid-19 almost all of education discussions seem to have focused on systems, structures and schooling, this session will focus on reimagining childhood.
Teaching and the curriculum straight jacket – How well do we know our children? 06 October, 7:30 pm GST (experts: Helenor Gilmour, Director of Insight – Beano Studios, UK; Neil Pinder, Teacher of the Year and Co-founder of Celebrating Architecture, UK; Jayne Cooper, Artist in Residence – Arbourthorne Community Primary School, UK; Mario Herrera, EFL/ESL Author & Teacher, Mexico). Topic: In excess of 1.5 billion children have not been to school for 3 months or more in 2020 and #TheNewNormal is focusing heavily on how much schooling children have missed and how much they have fallen behind. The panellists in this session will speak about whether this is the right time to press ‘pause’ and ‘re-set’ and to devise a curriculum that is based on the children, their profiles and how well we know their potential.
The role of NGOs and business in the future of education, 13 October, 07:30 pm GST (experts: Stavros Yiannouka, CEO – Wise, Qatar; Asheesh Advani, CEO – JA Worldwide, USA; Emilio Munaro, VP Global Development & Communication – Instituto Ayrton Senna, Brazil; Thandeka Tutu, Director – TutuDesk Campaign, RSA). Topic: The future of education is not the sole prerogative of national governments; real innovation, change and social justice affecting the lives of children are delivered by partnerships involving NGOs and businesses. Is this the new, and the best way, in #TheNewNormal?
STEM Education in #TheNewNormal: What’s all the fuss? 20 October, 07:30 pm GST (experts: Iain Hennessey, Clinical Director of Innovation and Paediatric Surgeon – Alderhey Children’s Hospital, UK; Mark Levesley, Research Scientist and Science Education Author, UK; Thanbeer Kaur, Senior Educator – Ministry of Education, Malaysia; Dr Rana Dajani, Molecular Biologist and Associate Professor – Hashemite University, Jordan). Topic: STEM education seems to have taken on a role of even greater significance during the Covid-19 period and into #TheNewNormal. The session will ask ‘How important is STEM education to the real world?’.
Education 2030: Who are the teachers? 27 October, 07:30 pm GST (experts: Sheika Hind Al Mualla, Board Member, Chief of Creativity, Happiness and Innovation – KHDA, Dubai; Rose Clesham, Director of Academic Standards and Measurement, Pearson, UK; Nick Richardson, CEO, The Insights People, UK; Vikas Pota, Honorary Lecturer – UCL Institute of Education & former CEO – Varkey Foundation, UK; Rosan Bosch, Founder and Creative Director – Rosan Bosch Studio, Denmark). Topic: What the new balance is like between online and offline schooling and what implications this has for the teaching professions. The essence of the matter may well be to ask ourselves who our new teachers are and what their jobs look like.
The webinars will be hosted by Professor Dr Ger Graus OBE, Global Director of Education for KidZania, who will be joined by experts from the education sector and beyond to discuss the current state of the industry, lessons learnt and what the future may look like. In #TheNewNormal series of live interactive webinars, Professor Dr Graus will speak to a renowned group of scholars and leaders to discuss the effects of this pandemic on education in the Middle East and globally and extrapolate the new normal in education post Covid-19.
Professor Dr Graus said: I am looking forward to series 2. Much has changed since the first series in May. We need to consider increasingly that every child is everyone’s responsibility and the wide variety of panellists reflects this. I am excited to find out what is going on out there in education terms and how much we can press the re-set button. I am looking forward to the stories that will make us think. Many thanks to Pearson for making all this happen.”
Aiming to generate thought-provoking discussions and innovative ways to improve education outcomes during and after Covid in schools, #TheNewNormal webinars by Pearson are designed to support schools and educational institutions in the UAE and across the Middle East region at this challenging time.