DAVOS: Teaching methods at one the UAE’s biggest universities were being transformed to better prepare students for the changing needs of the labor market, the country’s education minister said on Tuesday.
Ahmad bin Abdullah Belhoul was speaking during a panel session — titled “Preparing 1 Billion People for Tomorrow’s Economy” — at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The minister told delegates that government owned Zayed University in Abu Dhabi was among Emirati institutions leading the way in adapting to the nation’s future workforce requirements.
He noted that as part of the preparations, the focus was shifting toward soft skills and more interdisciplinary fields of study.
Belhoul said: “There’s a gap between education outcomes and what the labor market requires today, that has always existed.
“But now, in the changing evolution of jobs, we are focusing a lot on soft skills such as adaptability, and we are looking on graduate students with interdisciplinary majors who are also able to adapt.”
He pointed out how Zayed University planned to phase out traditional university degrees by 2026 and launch interdisciplinary degrees, such as social entrepreneurship and business innovation, to meet post-coronavirus pandemic hybrid workplace needs.
“We are trying as much as we can to intertwine different fields of study to graduate students that are interdisciplinary but also focus on soft skills that we believe are going to be useful in the future,” he added.
Panel moderator, Zanny Minton Beddoes, the editor-in-chief of The Economist, said soft skills — including communication, time management, adaptability, curiosity, and a growth mindset — were now as important to the job market as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills were five years ago.
Belhoul said: “We can retrain someone technically, but if they don’t acquire the soft skills during the education system, it is difficult to train them later on.”
According to WEF studies, as technology shifted, companies tended to opt for green solutions, and as the global labor market adjusted to the fallout from the pandemic, up to 1 billion jobs would be radically transformed in the next decade.
By 2030, a WEF program aims to introduce critical interventions to provide better skills, jobs, and education for 1 billion people who may be at risk of being made redundant due to ongoing changes.
And since its launch in 2020, the forum’s re-skilling revolution initiative has been working with more than 350 organizations to provide 1 billion people with better education, skills, and economic opportunities by 2030.
WASHINGTON:The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Cooperative Foundation and senior Iranian officials, stepping up pressure on Tehran over its crackdown on protests.
The move is the latest Washington response to the Iranian crackdown on unrest after the death of young Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in morality police custody in September.
The US Treasury Department in a statement said it designated the IRGC Cooperative Foundation, which it described as an economic conglomerate established by senior officials of the group to manage its investments and presence in sectors of Iran’s economy.
Also targeted were five of its board members, the deputy minister of intelligence and security, and four senior IRGC commanders in Iran, the Treasury said.
Monday’s action targets a “key economic pillar of the IRGC, which funds much of the regime’s brutal suppression; as well as senior security officials coordinating Tehran’s crackdown at the national and provincial levels,” the Treasury said.
DUBAI: Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Sabah on Monday submitted the resignation of his cabinet to Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Kuwait News Agency reported.
LONDON: Britain sanctioned more Iranian individuals and entities on Monday over the country’s “brutal repression” of its people, including a crackdown on anti-government protests and the recent execution of British-Iranian dual national Alireza Akbari.
The sanctions included an asset freeze on Iranian deputy prosecutor general Ahmad Fazelian, who the British foreign office said was responsible for an unfair judicial system that used the death penalty for political purposes.
“Those sanctioned today, from the judicial figures using the death penalty for political ends to the thugs beating protesters on the streets, are at the heart of the regime’s brutal repression of the Iranian people,” British foreign minister James Cleverly said in a statement.
“The UK and our partners have sent a clear message through these sanctions that there will be no hiding place for those guilty of the worst human rights violations.”
The European Union also introduced new sanctions against Iran on Monday for a “brutal and disproportionate use of force” against protesters.
Widespread anti-government demonstrations erupted in Iran in September after the death in custody of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by morality police enforcing the Islamic Republic’s mandatory dress code for women.
Others sanctioned by Britain on Monday include Kiyumars Heidari, commander in chief of Iran’s ground forces; Hossein Nejat, deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); and the Basij Resistance Force and its deputy commander, Salar Abnoush.
The IRGC has an estimated 125,000-strong military with army, navy and air units, and commands the Basij religious militia often used in crackdowns.
The Basij Cooperative Foundation, linked to the Basij militia, and Qasem Rezaei, deputy commander of Iran’s law enforcement forces, were also sanctioned.
Britain has now imposed 50 new sanctions against Iran since Amini’s death, the foreign office said.
BEIRUT: The judge investigating Beirut’s massive 2020 port blast resumed work Monday after a nearly 13-month halt, ordering the release of some detainees and announcing plans to charge others, including two top generals, judicial officials said.
Judge Tarek Bitar’s work had been blocked since December 2021 pending a Court of Cassation ruling after three former Cabinet ministers filed legal challenges against him. The court is the highest in the land.
Despite there being no ruling by the court, Bitar resumed working on the case Monday based on legal justifications he gave, the judicial officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. They did not elaborate.
Bitar did not respond to calls by The Associated Press for comment.
The Aug. 4, 2020 disaster happened when hundreds of tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate, a material used in fertilizers, detonated at Beirut’s port killing more than 200, injuring over 6,000 and damaging large parts of Beirut. The explosion is considered one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history.
It later emerged that the ammonium nitrate had been shipped to Lebanon in 2013 and stored improperly at a port warehouse ever since. Senior political and security officials knew of its presence but did nothing.
The judicial officials said Bitar decided to release five people who had been detained for more than two years. They include former customs chief Shafeek Merhi; Sami Hussein, the head of port’s operations at the time of the blast, and a Syrian worker. Twelve people remain in custody, including the head of the port authority and the head of the Lebanese customs at the time of the blast.
The officials added that Bitar is expected to charge eight people, including top intelligence officials Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim and Maj. Gen. Tony Saliba. Bitar previously charged three ex-ministers who had refused to show up for questioning several times and lodged legal complaints to stall the probe.
Bitar has been the subject of harsh criticism by Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Nasrallah called Bitar’s investigation a “big mistake” and said it was biased. He asked authorities to remove Bitar.
Bitar is the second judge to take the case. The first judge, Fadi Sawwan, was forced out after complaints of bias by two Cabinet ministers. If the same happens to Bitar, it could be the final blow to the investigation.