By Deepshikha Kumar Anand
January 27, 2021: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government is investing massively to diversify the economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenue for many years. Favorable infrastructure and economic policies proved effective in this realm and both the manufacturing and service sectors have witnessed unprecedented growth in the last couple of years. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the total worth of active construction projects was USD 350 billion. Now, to meet the Vision 2021 National Agenda, UAE is aggressively working upon futuristic strategies and digitalization of learning platforms is one of them – fast taking UAE amongst the most progressive knowledge leaders.
Demand for online learning
Presently, the focus of the UAE’s policymakers is investing in future generations and making them future-ready. Digital learning platforms are going to play a pivotal role in this direction as they will help to build a knowledge-based economy, create high paying job roles, and improve the GDP. Visionaries and industry leaders realize that sustainable economic growth is impossible without up-skilling and re-skilling of human resources. Being highly interactive, engaging, and scalable in nature, virtual learning is the best option for businesses, professionals, and job seekers stay updated and up-skilled in the post-COVID ultra-competitive and agile market. Architects of modern UAE are thus promoting a culture of online learning in the region.
Learning from prototypes
Equipping the workforce with cutting-edge skills is the need of the hour and the Emirates have started fostering online training programmes in various sectors. In 2020, the UAE government has launched many strategic projects such as Designing the Next Fifty Years Project in the UAE, Health Workforce Upskilling Platform and the Digital Learning Challenge. To address current challenges, Health Workforce Upskilling Platform caters to the need of up-skilling healthcare professionals engaged in saving people from the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform is aimed at training doctors, nurses, and other health professionals who are not specialised in critical care medicine (ICU). On the other hand, Abu Dhabi School of Government decided to launch the e-learning programme to all citizens and residents of the UAE, after the runaway success of digital learning programmes for government employees.
UAE is further reinforcing its digital infrastructure to mitigate the slowdown and steer the economy towards a speedy recovery. In the post-COVID era of remote working and physical distancing, digital learning is the Holy Grail for almost every stakeholder in business and economy. Leaders are contriving plans for economic stability and developments in digital infrastructure seem most promising initiatives from this vantage point. Besides, UAE is among those thriving markets where content curation is exponentially leveraging the online education sector. By the end of 2027, the global content curation market is expected to reach USD 524.85 Million and UAE can contribute a lot in this growth.
One of the most significant advantages of online learning is up-skilling and re-skilling of the workforce by industries best experts at a highly feasible cost. To achieve its diversification goals and reduce dependence on oil revenue, UAE must invest in its people like the US, France, and Germany. For improving the employability of its youth, easy accessibility to quality up-skilling and re-skilling platforms is a must and online education can play a decisive role in this direction.
The dynamics of the global job market have changed dramatically after the pandemic and one cannot easily find a suitable job merely on the basis of a degree. Advanced and relevant professional skills differentiate a candidate from the crowd and s/he gets noticed by a prospective employer. UAE is also investing in technology which is the ultimate catalyst of online learning. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in every facet of education is expected to grow in the near future. As per analysts, investments in AI could result in a 1.6 per cent increase in the UAE’s economy and the technology is expected to add USD182 billion to the Emirates economy by 2035. Hence, it is important for the UAE to intelligently deploy resources, especially digital technologies to extract the best results from online education projects. An initiative that only comes naturally to UAE’s progressive economy and its exemplary leadership.