x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

IT education 'has failed Arab youth'

The Arab Knowledge Report found 61.2 per cent of youth in the UAE, Yemen, Jordan and Morocco scored less than 50 per cent in a test of their IT skills.

DUBAI // IT skills among youth in the region have been rated as weak by the newly released Arab Knowledge report.

The report found 61.2 per cent of young participants in the UAE, Yemen, Jordan and Morocco received scores below 12.5 out of 25 on IT tests.

Amat Alsoswa, director of the Arab states bureau at the UN Development Programme, said education failed to promote technology as a communications tool.

"The use of technology in the Arab Spring poses several questions to society and education," Ms Alsoswa said. "Why has the focus not been on engaging the youth and constructive utilisation of their skills?"

A lack of Arabic software and weak linguistic abilities of teachers and pupils were also to blame, the report says.

Experts at a two-day conference organised by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, where the Arab Knowledge Report was presented on Wednesday, said nations should take the uprisings as lessons in what needs to change in the education system.

Dr Ghaith Hamdi Fariz, the director of the Arab Knowledge Report, said policies must focus on knowledge, freedom and development for all.

"Special attention must be paid to disadvantaged groups, like those in poorer areas and women in Arab societies," Mr Faris said.

aahmed@thenational.ae