Annual Forum theme of Employability and Beyond Reinforces Life-Long Learning, Technology Integration and Graduate Competencies
Under the theme “HCT 4.0 – Employability and Beyond”, and in the attendance of approximately 1,200 faculty members and senior management, Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, HCT President and CEO of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), inaugurated the HCT annual Forum 2019 at the HCT-Dubai Men’s campus.
The Forum showcased the foundational pillars of HCT 4.0, with a focus on Up-skilling & Competencies, Entrepreneurship and Life-Long Learning, which will enable HCT to graduate hi-tech companies and technical leaders.
The highlight of the forum was a hologram technology display conducted by Dr. Al Shamsi, to highlight institutional transformation and HCT winning the international Black Board 2019 – Leading Change category Award, which recognized HCT’s adoption of innovative strategies for enhancing learning outcomes and boosting student success.
Dr. Al Shamsi extended his thanks to the HCT team’s dedication and contributions toward the achievement of winning the international Black Board Award, and announced a new e-Certification initiative which will be awarded to HCT faculty, in order to enhance their technological skills and develop their digital learning to cope with the rapid technological changes.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi stressed the importance of this year’s forum as it coincides with the HCT’s institutional transformation as a leading applied higher education institution. Through the HCT 4.0 strategic plan, HCT has become the nation’s first approved university economic free zone based on the directives of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, in alignment with the 50-year Charter.
HCT 4.0 is a national vision which plays a vital role in creating graduating companies and entrepreneurs by equipping youth with professional skills, and empowering them to proactively create their own. It is a major paradigm shift from HCT 2.0, the aim of which was to make HCT graduates the number one choice in the labor market and create job opportunities for all. The HCT 4.0 national vision will produce technical leaders who contribute to the various UAE industries, and who seek to become entrepreneurs and leaders of hi-tech companies contributing to the national economy.
The President & CEO added that the HCT 4.0 pillars of graduating companies and entrepreneurs; producing technical leaders; and enhancing life-long learning, aim to empower students to successfully cope with the challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution, as well as changes in the future of work arising from the development of Artificial Intelligence and automation of jobs. He noted that studies show that in 2020 society will find 5% of individuals working in data science, and in 2022 there will be a 40% increase in new Artificial Intelligence applications. Studies further show that 24% of companies will be dependent on the Internet of Things. Hence, the HCT must encourage its students to establish hi-tech companies, which necessitates a supportive educational environment and highly qualified faculty, Dr. Al Shamsi said.
Dr. Al Shamsi affirmed that the future will be in the hands of talented and skilled individuals, rather than solely degree holders, noting that major international corporations, such as Apple and IBM, have been employing highly skilled candidates without waiting for their degrees.
Keynote speaker, Mr. Laurent Probst, Partner in Price Waterhouse Luxembourg, participated in a key panel discussion about up-skilling individuals to ensure competitiveness and employability in light of the labor market changes. He recommended investing in curriculum development and pedagogies, as well as the development of career orientation services. Mr. Probst added that it was vital to ensure the relevance of academic curriculum by collaborating with the local and international labor market. He further stressed the importance of establishing new partnerships with local and international companies.
Another Forum panel discussion addressed the new wave in innovation and entrepreneurship and the means of achieving up-skilling and competencies.
A recognition ceremony was held to award 25 faculty members for their remarkable achievements in scholarly and research activities publications, implementation of teaching best practices, innovative educational activities and boosting student success in the HCT Academic Success Centers.