The youth must broaden their horizons to prepare for the future workforce as 1.9 million jobs are expected to be replaced in UAE for their inability to cope with future advancements, a UAE Minister said on Tuesday.
Addressing the World Government Summit (WGS) on its final day, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said the UAE will take major steps to restructure the educational system and form a new model of education that will adapt to future jobs. Federal laws, national strategies for higher education and initiatives for lifelong learning will come into place, to bridge the gap between education and the workplace and allow the UAE to be a contributor to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He said studies showed that 1.9 million jobs are expected to be replaced in UAE for their inability to cope with future advancements.
"We expect that 65 per cent of children who started primary school last year will graduate without finding the jobs that are in today's workplace," said Sheikh Abdullah, addressing a crowd of delegates and ministers including His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Being on the verge of a fourth industrial revolution, many of the present skills will be deemed "useless" due to automation. "We will witness many failures because routine administerial work will be replaced with advanced programmes," added Sheikh Abdullah.
Eighty per cent of Emiratis take up government jobs due to its stable nature and Sheikh Abdullah Educational curricula, he said, must be diversified to science, technology, engineering and math (Stem) to open the door for students to compete on a global scale and prepare for a fierce workplace. "For us to succeed, we need an economy that will focus on diversity and develop new skills in virtual education, critical thinking and problem solving that will help us succeed. Scientific, technical, digital, cultural and civil knowledge is more important now than ever before," said Sheikh Abdullah.
"Yes we will lose jobs, but the new jobs that will open up will need advanced skills that will open the door to global competition," the minister noted.
He said investing in human capital will be the country's main factor in succeeding in the fourth industrial revolution. It is true, he said, that the UAE ranks first in the Human Capital Index, but it still occupies the 45th place globally.
"Skills must be continuously developed, with more flexible work contracts that allow people to have more than one job. Digital, cultural and civil knowledge are more important now than ever," said Sheikh Abdullah.