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Coursera Summit MENA emphasises need for scalability in skill development

The event brought together leaders from higher education, business and government to discuss the future of learning and work in MENA

Dubai, Oct 26, 2022: The Coursera Summit MENA 2022 provided a unique platform for industry and education frontrunners, as well as government entities, to address the urgent requirement for skill development, unlocking opportunities for the region’s next generation of talent.

Recent LinkedIn data shows that the skill sets for jobs have changed by around 25% since 2015 – and by 2027 that number is expected to double.

Elaborating on the major tenets defining the skill dynamics, the summit emphasised the necessity to make education more accessible and affordable, and showcased why institutions, governments and industries need to adopt micro-credentials, especially in light of the new economic and workforce imperatives for the future.

Coursera, a global online learning platform hosted the first edition of its annual MENA summit in Dubai under the theme ‘The Future of Learning and Work’.

“An important strategy to serve the learners is to start with them. Today, talent in the region is predominantly looking at career advancement and credit as key goals of education. As a result, more career-relevant learning avenues must be developed and made accessible to learners,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera in a fireside chat. 

Maggioncalda emphasised that, in response to the growing demand from learners for fast-tracked pathways to well-paying jobs, institutions must incorporate cutting-edge job-relevant content into their curriculum, and governments must accredit online learning alongside traditional models.

The panel discussion that witnessed participation by Ajman University, Masafi and McKinsey & Company, also shed light on facets that continue to shape the present state of education in the region and beyond, including the importance of institutions prioritising student employability, inclusivity in learning, succession planning in organisations through upskilling, and the critical role of online learning in facilitating the same.

Stephen Hall, Partner at McKinsey & Company said, “The demand for skills is only going to accelerate in the future and, to keep up, all of us engaged in education need to find ways to address this. There needs to be continued and stronger engagement between the education sector and employers. What makes us more optimistic is the innovative ways that we see educational institutions respond. It is a global issue – not unique to the Middle East – but for us here in the region, if we can get industries and education institutions to think in the same direction, we will be able to better meet the challenges facing the region’s talent force today.”

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