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Title: Preparing national graduates for employment during higher education programs in the United Arab Emirates : role of graduate skills and implications on the policy of emiratisation
Author: Alshaiba Al Ali , Abdalla M.
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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In 1971 the United Arab Emirates was established as a new Arab country. Building the nation and developing its different sectors has required the assistance of millions of expatriates over many years due to the low number of native people. This situation encouraged the government to enforce several policies to create a balance between expatriates and citizens. Among these policies was Emiratisation that aims to achieve many goals including providing training to the national graduates to ensure they are ready for work in both public and private sectors. Within this thesis I have focused on the situation of the nationals before they graduate from higher education institutions; specifically the policy of preparing them for employment and its implications on Emiratisation. The hypothesis that the study was based on was: 'higher education institutions in the United Arab Emirates have appropriate policies of preparing the graduates for employment, which positively affect the policy of Emiratisation'. Besides, I have attempted to address the answers of three research questions: 1) How effective are the HEIs in preparing national undergraduate students for employment in the UAE? 2) How successful are the HEIs in playing their role in order to meet the needs of the local labour market (outcomes versus requirements) within the policy of Emiratisation? 3) What do graduates see the role of HEIs being in preparing them for the labor market in the UAE? With regard to the first research question; the preliminary findings from the questionnaire and interviews seemed to give the impression that the higher education institutions were on the right track but this situation was not completely adequate. To support this observation, the higher education institutions did have specific graduate skills embedded in the curriculum but it seemed that this was not completely sufficient. First, there were many graduates who encountered lack of employment skills after graduation. Second, employers pointed out the lack of certain skills among the graduates after graduation and the need to have the graduates trained in those skills during higher education programs. Third, the government had to train the graduates in a number of employment skills before helping them get new jobs. Fourth, the work placement course seemed in a need to be revised, extended, formally managed, evaluated and re-structured. With respect to the second research question; many graduates confirmed the relationship between higher education degrees and the job tasks of many respondents; and both higher education institutions that participated in this thesis had relationships with many employers. However, there was no evidence of a clear joint policy or cooperation between higher education institutions and the government to implement an effective national policy of Emiratisation. I did not find any channels between those two parties to discuss the developments of Emiratisation and the future actions required to meet the needs of employers. I have noted also that the study of the future needs of employers was conducted by the government not the higher education institutions. However, despite efforts on the part of higher education institutions and the government, the rogress towards Emiratisation continues to be very slow. Within the context of the third ~esearch question; although there were some positive opinions on the efforts of higher education institutions, many graduates proposed significant actions to be taken in order to have better policies of preparing national under-graduates for employment. This included the need for a new practical-based curriculum with embedded vocational skills more related to the labour market than the existing graduate skills; higher education institutions should pay more attention to the Arabic language as part of the key communication skills work placement and skills should be tested by them. Besides, employers should contribute to the design of the higher education curriculum and the evaluation of students during the work placement course. Among the recommendations of this thesis are: the need for a national framework of graduate skills embedded in the curriculum of the higher education institutions; the government needs to set up an accurate and nationwide action plan in order to assure an effective implementation of the policy of Emiratisation and, consequently, there should be a unified policy to prepare graduates for employment implemented by the higher education institutions and the government; higher education institutions should have more practical than theoretical subjects with more focus on the Arabic language skills which are required in the public, semi-public and local labour sectors; and higher education institutions should have more focus on educational research on the local labour market and the findings of this research should be published.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available