We hear a lot about it these days. So what exactly is the knowledge economy, and why is it so important to the UAE?
The Oxford Dictionary defines the term as an economy in which growth depends on the quantity, quality and accessibility of available information, rather than the means of production.
For the UAE, developing a competitive knowledge economy has been one of the pillars of the national agenda, which sees the government continue to focus on building the nation to become the economic, touristic capital and trade of more than two billion people around the world. To achieve this goal, the UAE government has set itself a series of 12 key metrics, one of which is based on the share of knowledge workers in the labor force. A space where the best universities in the United Arab Emirates are expected to make an impact.
Role of research
Experts believe that research and innovation in the globally connected world we live in today helps build the knowledge economies that will fuel sustainable growth in the future. Universities in this regard could play a leading role in the process by investing in more research and science programs within their curricula, UAE university leaders said.
Meghavi Banerjee, Director of Strategic Alliances, Lincoln University Business Management (LUBM), believes that including more research and science programs in the curriculum could help support the UAE even more in its efforts to build a knowledge economy. .
“Research is a key function that leads to development in countries,” says Banerjee. “The UAE remains committed and has spent up to 10.4 billion dirhams from the federal budget to develop the education system. According to MOE’s strategy, the plan has a strong focus on values, including science, technology and innovation.
“The government has strategically crafted its plan, and now we are witnessing improved science research policies, space programs, STEM implementation, educational reforms, and investments in research-intensive institutions.”
Ready for the future workplace
Explaining why the university education program in the UAE must be on par with that of leading research and science-oriented countries in order to build a knowledge economy, Banerjee adds, “Students must be ready for the future workplace. , and education should encourage in shaping brilliant minds by developing curiosity, lifelong learning and critical thinking. In this case, it is very important to organize a structured course or several courses by the universities to help the students in their journey of integration into a knowledge economy.
Xavier Duran Martinez, Director of MBA Programs, Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, believes the institution is on the right track to support the UAE’s ambitions to build a knowledge economy.
Elaborating on the new research and science programs that the University of Manchester has included in recent years to help the UAE build a knowledge economy, he says: “Manchester has built a global reputation for world-class research and the Middle East Center has undertaken or supported projects in the UAE. These include a Covid-19 response report (with Oxford Business Group) mapping the positive impact of the UAE’s investment in health, technology and education to reduce the impact of C19 and pass on recovery.
“The Center also undertook the first research into the GCC market for executive education (with Dubai International Academic City) and a research program with the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government on the subject, Creativity and Innovation in Government of Dubai at Individual, Team and Organizational levels.
Innovative efforts such as these, initiated by universities in the United Arab Emirates in close collaboration with industry, academia and government think tanks, should help the nation build an innovative and adaptive knowledge economy with a strong R&D ecosystem in the months and years to come. .