ABU DHABI // Education systems across the Arab world will not improve without more money for scientific research and a greater focus on vocational training, according to a new report.
"No education system, private or public, can hope to fulfill its role as a provider of job-ready graduates without adequate financial support and a more serious approach to scientific and vocational education," said Mark Andrews, the Middle East regional director for the UK-based education provider Edexcel. "One of the reasons for Arab countries' lack of progress in creating a business-savvy generation is the absence of proper dedicated budgets in this field."
Unesco's 2010 Science Report on scientific research found that research expenditure in the Arab world has fallen short of world averages over the last four decades.
It noted that education models in the Arab world have failed to create qualified scientists capable of tackling pressing national issues such as food, water and energy shortages, or improving public health services and driving essential infrastructure projects.
Since 2007, Egypt has been spending as little as 0.23 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on scientific research, while Tunisia spent more than one per cent. Qatar recently announced that it would increase its expenditure to 2.8 per cent of GDP in the coming five years.
Mr Andrews added: "Vocational education can play a key role in enhancing scientific research in the Arab world."