The exceptional advancements in science and technology in the last 10 years with the advent of artificial intelligence, advance robotics and virtual reality and other technologies that are gradually reshaping our society have slowly signaled the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution.
If we agree that education is an effective gateway out of poverty that is capable of reshaping economies, then reorganizing the educational sector in Yemen to meet the demands of the ever changing job sector of local and regional economies is of utmost importance.
The design of the educational sector in some middle eastern countries, Yemen included, is a hybrid design that took educational models from both the east and west, eastern model that had at its center the tendency to widen the scope of subjects regardless of the field of study to build all-around academics and the western model centered around a more pragmatic approach to teaching.
These modified hybrid designs at their core had at the time more concern on adapting the copied educational models to fit diverse cultural aspects then adapting them to fit a realistic economic environment.
One of the reasons is that at the time these models where developed, in the 80’s, more concern was given to preserving national identities of local cultures in an economic environment that was booming due to the increasing output of oil revenues in the Arabian peninsula and a surplus of foreign exchange from Yemeni workers working in the gulf countries, then the future needs of the labour market in regional economies.
30 years later we are faced with having an inadequate educational model that is trapped in traditional, linear thinking, which simply cannot output the future workforce that regional economies require.
Generations of young people face a world transformed by technology and find work in industries and low tech sectors in which they had no previous schooling but are rather requalified to fill available jobs openings. While most requalification programs are designed to output a workforce as quickly as possible, most often then not they are inadequate and not flexible enough to provide a more lasting solution.
This calls for Yemen to study a more strategically focused redesign of the entire educational sector, creating new partnerships that would include the private sector in public sector education, by proposing new structural design changes. A design that has a vision for the future, a structure that on one hand promotes creative thinking among middle and high school students and on the other hand that takes into account the needs of the local and regional economies for years to come.