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QCDC WRAPS UP SECOND EDITION OF CAREER GUIDANCE STAKEHOLDERS PLATFORM

Apr 03, 2018

Platform

Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF), Qatar Career Development Center (QCDC), a member of QF, has wrapped up the second edition of its Career Guidance Stakeholders Platform.

The event, which took place at the Qatar National Convention Centre under the theme ‘Moving Operationally to Strategically Enhance Career Guidance in the State of Qatar’, brought together a large number of senior government officials and ministers.

These included H.E. Salah bin Ghanem Al-Ali, Minister of Culture and Sports; H.E. Dr. Issa Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi, Minister of Administrative Development, Labour And Social Affairs; and H.E. Dr. Mohammed Abdul Wahed Ali Al Hammadi, Minister of Education and Higher Education. Additionally, Omran Al-Kuwari, Acting CEO, Executive Director-CEO Office, Qatar Foundation, and Mrs. Machaille Al-Naimi, President of Community Development, Qatar Foundation, were also in attendance.

The event, organized in partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Doha Office and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, comes within the framework of QCDC’s commitment to delivering on the priorities stipulated by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in his address to citizens and residents of Qatar in July 2017, when he stressed the importance of investing in the development of national human capital.

In his opening speech, Mr. Abdulla Al-Mansoori, Director, QCDC, said: "Nation-building requires a diverse set of competencies, skills, and jobs to ensure self-sufficiency when it comes to the local labor force required to bolster the state’s economy at present and in the future. Many professions that young people may choose to pursue in the future have yet to exist. Raising awareness about various options and how to obtain more information about future careers are key elements of national career development and are at the core of QCDC’s mission.

"Qatar is currently well positioned to develop career guidance programs and initiatives that instill career guidance within the nation's social and economic fabric. QCDC is collaborating with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, UNESCO, and public and private institutions represented today, to create a framework for the development of standards and policies for career guidance at the national level and to identify the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in the implementation of this strategy inspired by the Qatar Education and Training Strategy 2017-2022. This event highlights the importance of integrating technology-based career guidance services and resources and applying UNESCO's technical and vocational education and training (TVET) standards,” Mr. Al-Mansoori added.

The event brought together more than 250 participants from Qatar and around the world. Participants included policy-makers, decision-makers, and senior executives from international organizations such as UNESCO and government institutions such as the Ministry Education and Higher Education, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, and the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

Representatives from educational institutions including QF, Qatar University, Community College of Qatar, College of the North Atlantic – Qatar, and national talent development committees in institutions like Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar Petroleum, Sidra Medicine, and Qatar Airways also participated in the event.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Raimo Vuorinen, Associate Professor at the Finnish Institute for Educational Research, at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland and Vice-President of the International Association for Vocational and Educational Guidance, said: “After this event, we will first seek to agree on a strategy and standardized policies that will identify how different government sectors and agencies could work together in harmony for a common goal. As we move forward, such strategies would serve as catalysts that would speed up the development process.”

In her speech, Dr. Faryal Khan, Programme Specialist for Education, UNESCO Doha Office, emphasized that “Qatar, alongside its partners on the national, regional, and global levels, is a leading country in promoting career guidance in accordance with a well-planned agenda that falls in line with its national strategies and vision.”

The opening ceremony also featured a plenary session, which brought together Professor Sheikha Abdulla Al-Misnad, Former President, Qatar University; Mr. Saif Al-Kaabi, Human Resources Department Manager, Public Works Authority; and Mrs. Fawzia Abdulaziz Al-Khater, Assistant Under-Secretary for Educational Affairs, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, and was moderated by Mr. Jaber bin Nasser Al Marri, Managing Editor, Al Arab newspaper. 
During the discussion, Mrs. Al Khater stated: “The Ministry of Education and Higher Education is fully aware of the importance of promoting career guidance and has long sought to advance this objective, preparing students to easily access the labor market or universities. In a first step towards achieving this objective, the ministry has designated academic counselors across secondary schools in Qatar and established an academic guidance department to train and empower counselors. The ministry has also ratified agreements with various government agencies to develop the Basic Skills course that is being taught to 10th grade students to equip youth with the necessary skills for post-public education.”

Participants were then divided into 10 focus groups including four roundtable discussion groups and six knowledge and practice exchange groups.

Roundtable discussion groups were aimed at developing concrete actions needed to operationally move towards development of career guidance in Qatar along four strategic dimensions. Expressed in terms of topical discussion areas, these dimensions aim to provide the foundational work needed to develop: (1) national level career guidance framework, standards, and policies; (2) stakeholders’ roles in, and responsibilities for, implementing Qatar’s career guidance strategy for 2017-2022; (3) technology driven career guidance services and resources; and (4) UNESCO’s career guidance standards related to TVET.

The six knowledge and practice exchange groups, on the other hand, touched on cases of best career guidance practices in Qatar. The six cases included: (1) maximizing the impact of career guidance on national talent development programs, (2) employability skills development program for university students, (3) further development of entrepreneurship practices in Qatar, (4) career development framework for students with special abilities, (5) integrated career guidance in the secondary education curriculum – the Finnish experience, and (6) assessing the life-skills program implemented across secondary schools in Qatar.

Group members also took part in valuable discussions on how to address strategic and national career-guidance related issues before making a number of key recommendations on the development of an organizational structure for career guidance and career development in Qatar.