Amid changing market dynamics where the education sector is undergoing a major transformation, the combination of competencies, subject skills, experience and soft skills is essential for students to progress in their careers. That was the verdict of educators from the UAE’s top institutions on the second day of the Gulf News Edufair, where students outlined ways in which they can build a career path in a disrupted world.
Hundreds of people visited the first two days of Gulf News Edufair, where parents and students flocked to more than 50 exhibitors and attended lively panel discussions and seminars to find answers to everything they need to know about going to university, including admission. requirements, programs offered, specific modules or the cost of different degrees and campus life.
Show your talent
Educators have emphasized that it is critical for students to showcase their unique skill sets and gain a competitive edge in their chosen fields. That was the theme of the discussion on “Continuing Learning and Targeted Courses: The Best Ways to Train and Train”.
“Where you studied and your grades are just a box,” says Fazeela Gopalani, head of ACCA Middle East. “Nowadays it is much more what employers are looking for. They specifically look for soft skills, such as being able to present yourself well and communicate eloquently, as well as emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence.
But it’s also about showing what makes you special. “Research and publish a paper online to demonstrate your subject knowledge, or create a YouTube channel to showcase your unique perspective,” says Vishal Iyer, PwC Middle East Academy Professional Qualification Trainer.
The other loud message from the lively debate was that you don’t have to wait around for that elusive job: you have to put yourself out there and grab it with both hands. “Jump on every internship or volunteer opportunity that comes your way,” says Vignesh Sivakumar, Director of Operations at Phoenix Financial Training.
“In life, asking doesn’t make you smaller. Ask for help and support, and what they give you, take it,” added Gopalani. “Do internships, do assignments for free, these will help build your CV.”
Not right or wrong
Industry experts have highlighted the things that students should consider before deciding on the right college and course. “Work hard, make a plan, but keep your options open and ultimately follow your heart,” said Varun Jain, founder and CEO of UniHawk.
“It’s about making the decision that’s right for you at that point in your life,” Jain says, citing numerous examples of students who didn’t take the beaten path but went on to have successful college careers.
“There is no right place to study; your choice matters to find the right fit.”
Higher education abroad
Along with promoting higher education in the UAE, this year, Gulf News has expanded the scope of the event to include top universities and degrees from Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and European nations, creating a benchmark for the interface with the global education industry. .
One of the seminars also highlighted the greater study opportunities in Canada, which often lead to a permanent stay. Parents and students also had the opportunity to explore the benefits of studying abroad and taking English language tests for immigration.
“Pearson’s Test of English is an option accepted by all major universities in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand,” says Abdullah Jalal, Business Development Analyst, Gulf, Pearson. “Anyone who shows up for the test gets 11 hours of free training, and results in two days.”
Explore the options
Haneena Ansari and Aliya Nasser, two visiting students seeking postgraduate courses, were inspired by panel discussions and seminars.
“They were awesome,” says Ansari, who is considering business analytics and finance courses. “They gave us a lot of advice about working online and what you need for a successful career.”
For Nasser, a math and computer science student, it was about being able to explore all of his options. “I’m interested in data analytics and AI, but I’m still confused about what to take,” he says. “I’m getting a lot of ideas about the possibilities that open up to me.”
Arfaque Quazia attended the event to explore MBA options. “After finishing my degree in Commerce in 2020, I started working in sales and also started running a business. But, now I am looking to advance my career with an MBA degree,” says Quazia. “Gulf News Edufair is a great platform to explore courses and interact with university representatives. I have collected information on MBA opportunities in the UAE and will be completing a program soon.
Parents also had a unique opportunity to receive information directly from universities and help their children plan their careers.
“This is the first time for me to come to such an event,” says Sandhya Nair, parent of a class 12 student. “The presenters have helped us with key admissions details such as entrance exams and the application process. They are very helpful in explaining the admissions process as I was not aware of all the details.”
Interactivity is the key
Transforming the way we learn in the classroom is key to the future of education, experts said at a panel discussion titled “Roadmap to Success: Thinking Differently to Keep Up with the Changing Goals of Education” on the second day of Gulf News 2023. .
“We can no longer rely only on lectures or PowerPoint presentations. We need to have interactive classrooms,” said Dr. Wathiq Mansoor, Dean of the University of Dubai’s Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science. “We need to allow students to participate so that the feedback is dynamic: we teach students and learn from students at the same time.”
The key to the future is to think beyond educational dialogue, according to Dr. Mohamed Nasor, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science at Ajman University. “This generation must be immersed, and part of the process,” he said. “They don’t take things for granted; they want to see how their studies relate to their future profession. They must take ownership of their learning.”
This means changing how teachers approach their role in the classroom. “We are agents,” said Dr. Nasor. “We offer the resources, and we structure the information, and they learn by themselves.”
Dr. Mansoor agreed, adding, “Teachers need to be trained and teachers need to be supported to adapt to this new learning.”