Ithraa opens debate on Education at Inside Stories seminar

Education will be the key focus at the upcoming 'Inside Stories' session organised by Ithraa - Oman's inward investment and export development agency.

The next monthly instalment of Inside Stories will take place at 7pm, on Tuesday May 16, at the Public Authority for Civil Aviation in Al Hail North.

The panel includes Jon Morton, National CEO Program; Wail Al Mugheiry, Engineering Village; Ammar Al Ojaili, Takatuf; and Kawthar Suliemani and Sarah Nunn from the Ministry of Education.

Ithraa’s Inside Stories is a seven-part, free-of-charge seminar series designed to help Oman’s public and private sector better understand the opportunities offered in areas such as hyperlocal tourism, micro-manufacturing, aquaculture, logistics, healthcare, food and beverage, and education and training.

Ithraa Director General of Marketing & Media Taleb Al Makhmari said: “Quality education is essential to the economic development of any nation. This fact is clearly evidenced from past experiences of countries such as Singapore, Ireland and South Korea.

“The inability to develop future talent with the right skills could potentially prevent Omani companies from scaling up operations, meeting demand in new export markets and launching new products and services. Bringing business and education closer together is key to the sultanate’s economic prosperity."

“The old rules of education, training and work no longer apply,” said Al Makhmari: “In the years to come, the changes being wrought by the Digital Age will reshape not just our concept of education, the workplace and a career, but also the reality of how we study, train and earn a living.”

The skills required for future middle and high-skilled jobs are rapidly evolving and interest in issues around national talent development and retention are clearly on the agenda.

Ithraa’s Media Director Sajda Al Ghaithy said: “Tuesday evening’s panel will discuss how we’ll proactively bridge gaps to make sure Omani workers are educated, trained and prepared to secure sustainable jobs that will enable them to grow and prosper."

Mr Al Ghaithy said education does not just work on the national level, it is also key to the success of local communities right across Oman. Skill levels drive local job and wage growth. If some workers get better skills, this not only benefits those workers, but also increases the employment rates and wage rates of everyone else in the local economy.

He said Oman’s business community has an important role to play in Oman’s fast evolving education system. “It’s in the enlightened long-run self-interest of the business community to do so.

"Omani businesses have a vested interest in schools and colleges since students are their future workforce. While they provide mentorships and internships, students learn skills and get on-the-job training. In many cases, students will be better prepared to pursue a career with that company, requiring less additional training and be more aware about how to fit in with the company culture.

"By not connecting business and education and creating formal working ties, Omani schools, colleges and companies are potentially undermining many of their own best efforts to give students the academic skills and motivation they need to be a productive member of society.

“If we want higher rates of broad-based economic growth in Oman, which will help support the prosperity of local businesses, then we need to encourage and strengthen links between business and education."