A joint report by the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) and Huawei has revealed the importance of developing ICT talents and creating relevant ecosystems to enhance ICT skills in the Middle East and expand access to career opportunities in the digital world. The joint publication aims to provide recommendations for decision-makers and other stakeholders on strengthening the digital skills required for employability in the digital era labor market. The report covers Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Pakistan.
Commenting on the report launch, Mr. Tao Zhan, Director of UNESCO IITE, said, “UNESCO has identified ICT as a tool for accelerating the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including equitable access to quality education for all.” Mr. Shunli Wang, Vice President of Huawei Middle East, said, “As the report shows, ICT is a powerful tool to facilitate social impact.”
Higher education and TVETs are considered significant enablers of digital transformation and vital components of national visions and strategies for economic development by most of the countries. Therefore, modernizing education systems and upgrading ICT infrastructure have become national priorities across all surveyed countries. Proper infrastructure and qualified human capital are pivotal for achieving SDGs.
This focus is reflected in the ever-increasing number of institutions offering ICT-related studies. For example, 23 universities and colleges (out of 30 higher education institutions) in Oman admit students to ICT-related majors. In Iraq, 12 vocational schools offered computer and information technologies courses during the 2018–2019 academic year. In Pakistan, the government has set up the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), the Virtual University of Pakistan (VU), and the Information Technology University to promote ICT in higher education and TVET.