x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Course and career start with a click

A new website will help students pick college courses that can steer them towards their chosen careers.

ABU DHABI // A new website will help students pick college courses that can steer them towards their chosen careers - and ideally increase the number of graduates finding jobs, officials announced yesterday. The Ministry of Education will launch in September an online index of courses at the nation's universities and colleges for the 2009-10 academic year. The site will outline what job opportunities may be available in each field.

"The electronic guide is designed to acquaint students with job opportunities and the related areas of study," said Dr Rashid al Nuaimi, director general of the MoE. "It will enable students to make informed decisions when it comes to choosing their degrees or vocations." The website will provide detailed information on higher education, from prerequisites to course loads. "We want to prepare students to enter the labour market and raise the awareness of students professionally so they are contributing workers in society," Dr al Nuaimi said.

This site would help inform a student's entire family about his or her education decisions, he added. Samar al Hammadi, a Grade 12 student at Al Mawaheb Model School in Abu Dhabi who is waiting to hear whether she has been accepted at Zayed University to study accounting, said: "I wish a website like this was available to me when I was researching which university or college to attend. "I chose accounting because I thought it would be the best thing to study according to the grades I am expecting. It's a safer choice, and I guess it will be easy to find a job. But it seems this kind of website would have been more informative and maybe made more options clear to me. Students should definitely make use of it."

The site will use a "scientific approach" to determine a student's preferences and interests, Dr al Nuami said. Questionnaires will gather personal details and academic information, then aggregate them into a sort of online manual suggesting areas of study and the types of job the student will be qualified for as a graduate. The website will also provide the pros and cons of their choices and present any additional qualifications for advanced fields such as medicine, law or engineering.

"We will also provide students with a clear idea of the country's requirements, if there are any, with regards to any specific professions," Dr al Nuami said. Providing high-school students with a better idea of what to expect after graduation would help them concentrate on developing the necessary skills and abilities, he said. "This will eliminate the problem of not knowing what to choose due to not knowing what to expect. "Students will refrain from majoring in specialisations that hold no interest for them, or have no acceptable career opportunities in the future."

Nada al Hashimi, who will be starting grade 10 at Al Mawaheb Model School, said: "It's exciting to hear about this online manual to help us understand what universities offer and what we would be good at, because I honestly have no idea what I want to study when I finish high school. "Sometimes I worry that I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but if there's a way to understand the different jobs out there and what I have to study in order to do a job I like, then that's definitely helpful."

Rashid al Shargi, going into grade 11 at Al Waqn High School in Al Ain, wants to become an architect. He said he expected the project to help him pursue that goal. "From what I understand, this website will help me know which subjects I need to concentrate on in order to study architecture, and which universities in the country have the best architecture programmes, so I can make my choice," he said. "It will be great to have a resource like that to help us."

The ministry has not yet announced a URL for the website. hkhalaf@thenational.ae