Advanced Skills Council Explores Mechanisms for Developing Accurate Skills Measurement Tools
Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi:
  • The council plays a pivotal role in implementing the leadership’s vision to shape the future and achieve preeminence in all fields
  • The council formulates and implements unconventional solutions to integrate the community within a positive-change system, which keeps pace with technological development and global economic shifts
  • Enhancing cooperation between different entities in the country involves harmonising visions and defining objectives for the next period in order to disseminate these skills in the community
  • I am confident in the council’s ability to deliver tangible results in the spreading of advanced skills in the community to drive the UAE’s development

Dubai, UAE, December 2019: The Advanced Skills Council met recently to discuss the plans and strategies of the National Programme for Advanced Skills, as well as to review the most effective methods for developing accurate measurement tools and the latest scientific methods for fostering and honing advanced skills in the community.

In what was its second meeting since its formation in June 2019, the council also explored avenues of cooperation between its members to promote lifelong learning in the community and focused on the importance of qualifying youth to meet the requirements of the labour markets and future jobs, in line with Emiratisation targets.

H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, chaired the meeting, with attendees representing the Ministries of Economy, Education, and Human Resources and Emiratisation, as well as the Federal Youth Authority, the Office of the Minister of State for Advanced Science, the Office of the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, and the National Programme for Advanced Skills.

Addressing the meeting, H.E. Al Falasi underscored the council’s pivotal role in implementing the leadership’s vision to shape the future, face its challenges and achieve preeminence in all fields. He also expressed his confidence in the council’s ability to deliver tangible results in terms of disseminating advanced skills in the community and staying ahead of global changes by investing in human resources.

“The council’s role is to realise the targets of the National Programme for Advanced Skills through formulating mechanisms for measuring skills and developing methods of fostering them across the community. It conducts experiments and adopts clear approaches to activate these skills to drive the UAE’s development. To this end, we are working on enhancing cooperation between the council and different federal, government and private entities in the UAE to define objectives for the next phase,” said H.E. Al Falasi.

“The council seeks to lead global thought in developing skills to empower human resources by creating and implementing unconventional solutions to integrate the community within a positive-change system that keeps pace with technological development and global economic shifts,” H.E. continued.

The second meeting of the Advanced Skill Council examined the steps needed to ensure the achievement of objectives set for the coming period, focusing on the measurement and spread of advanced skills among community members, including students, employees and experts across different sectors in the UAE.

During the meeting the National Programme for Advanced Skills team showcased the programme’s plans and policies, covering the UAE’s 13 priority and foundational sectors. The team also discussed the programme’s pillars, which include education, culture, arts, community development and entrepreneurship, as well as the 12 skills identified as being essential to prepare the community for the future.

The meeting explored target segments in the programme, notably students, recent graduates and season employees, and discussed methods for enhancing collaboration to implement seven key initiatives to promote lifelong learning. These include harmonising policies to support the development of advanced skills across different entities in the UAE, mechanisms to inspire the community, measuring advanced skills, the Pilot School Project, lifelong learning in universities through integrating advanced skills in the higher education system, the UAE’s leadership in terms of advanced skills, and the advanced skills online platform.

The team also highlighted the Advanced Skills Measurement Programme, which works to develop a comprehensive tool to assess student skills across education stages, while allowing individuals to discover their professional and emotional skill level to prepare them for the labour market. In a broader sense, the programme aims to position the UAE at the forefront of the skills measurement field globally. The team explained that the gap in the efficacy of advanced skills measurement standards across the world enables the UAE to lead efforts in this area. The team noted that they have considered collaborating with a number of companies that are leaders in developing measurement tools in the past period.

One of the most prominent collaborations in the field, ACT Tessera is a skills measurement project that uses three methods; self-report Likert-type scales (SR), forced choice (FC), and situational judgment tests (SJT). The team reviewed the results of applying the three methods on students in 2018, which measured five key skills, namely perseverance, teamwork, curiosity, resilience and leadership. The project targets all three school cycles, as well as university students and employed individuals.

In addition, the National Programme for Advanced Skills Team showcased the Pilot School Project, which targets students in select schools and enables institutions to experiment with innovative teaching and learning methods to enhance social and emotional growth. The project aims to achieve the best educational outputs and enrich the learning experience by measuring the impact of social and emotional learning on academic performance and developing students’ emotional and social skills through the adoption of established scientific principles. It also seeks to develop the competency of teachers and their ability to learn advanced skills and allow Emirati doctorate students to work on the project.

The team also shed light on the Lifelong Universities Project, which adopts a clear approach to integrate lifelong learning within the UAE’s university system. They reiterated how lifelong learning opportunities were added to the list of university licensing criteria in the country, giving institutions until September 2020 to implement lifelong learning standards. The project gives freedom to universities to provide lifelong learning programmes through either e-learning, integrative learning, or classroom learning.

The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources team showcased the Al Mawrid e-learning platform, which provides courses and training to develop the behavioural and specialised skills of government employees across all fields to ensure their ability to meet the requirements of the labour market in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The meeting also featured briefings by the member entities on their initiatives and programmes associated with implementing the advanced skills strategy, which they are currently developing to enhance the skills of their employees. It touched on methods of enhancing collaboration between the taskforces to be formed by the members and the National Programme for Advanced Skills team with the aim of harmonising efforts and formulating plans to ensure optimal implementation of the programme’s strategy.

The meeting reviewed a number of outputs and recommendations on developing advanced skills policies, enhancing cooperation between council members, and creating a world-class model for equipping individuals with skills. It also discussed nominating some of the council members to work on the skills measurement project ACT Tessera. It also explored potential partnerships with the Ministry of Education and the Department of Education and Knowledge in Abu Dhabi, and Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority to advance the project’s progress in the student category, in addition to cooperating with the three entities to activate channels to access the schools best fit to participate in the project.

The council also explored the possibility of nominating a number of its members to work on the Pilot School Project with help from the National Programme for Advanced Skills. It looked into methods to coordinate with the Advanced Sciences team to collaborate with the UAE Council for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Emirates Scientists Council. The meeting studied the possibility of hosting the ministries of Education, and Emiratisation and Human Resources in the Skills Cube, an initiative launched as part of the ‘My Skill 12x12’ campaign, which seeks to spread a set of skills in the community over the course of 12 months. This involves participating in the number of events related to these entities, most notably the International Science, Technology and Innovation Festival in February 2020 and the Tawteen 360 Forum.

Finally, the council decided to meet with officials from the Ministry of Emiratisation and Human Resources to discuss skills programmes, as well as the Ministry’s collaboration with the National Programme for Advanced Skills in preparing the report on the specialised skills which UAE government and private-sector employees require.