LUMS Vice Chancellor Participates in THE Emerging Economies Summit 2021
THE Emerging Economies Summit 2021, held in Dubai on October 19, brought together leaders from across the world to map out the future of higher education in emerging economies.
LUMS Vice Chancellor, Dr. Arshad Ahmad participated in a panel discussion titled, ‘What will employability mean in the digital age?’ He was joined by Prof. Chandrika Wijeyaratne, Vice Chancellor, University of Colombo; Walid Al Zaher, Chief Research Officer, G42 Healthcare and Zaher Srour, Director of Partnerships (Middle East), Coursera. The discussion was moderated by Tim Sowula, Head of Content and Engagement, Times Higher Educations (THE).
Dr. Ahmad discussed the role of LUMS and the challenges facing universities in low and middle-income countries. “For developing countries like Pakistan, the real challenge for a university, that wants to have a great impact, would be to participate in the nation-building that is sorely needed,” he said. “We focus on issues of water, as we do with poverty concerns, equity issues and the list goes on. Whether it is energy or sustainability, these are the kind of umbrellas under which the university can focus on in trying to amplify its impact.”
He also explained that small universities can be more agile and adapt curricula more easily to address such challenges. “Many institutions are using old models and ways of thinking that create more challenges rather than create localised indigenous solutions, which we need in order to be able to get closer to what employers are thinking.” Thus, a more value-based education is essential and qualities such as honesty, integrity and a sense of giving back to something bigger warrant attention at universities, he explained.
Mr. Walid Al Zaher, Chief Research Officer, G42 Healthcare explained that COVID has impacted many things. “It has changed the landscape and the map of recruitment and talent and has just made it very obvious that in order for you to move forward, you have to use the newer generation’s talents.”
Prof Chandrika Wijeyaratne, Vice Chancellor, University of Colombo, elaborated on the current problems being faced in her country. “We cannot divorce ourselves from the ongoing pandemic, the fact that on-site, in-person presence of our students is very patchy. Still, we are managing it while there is a continuous online activity. No doubt the research activities, particularly the field-based, community-based learnings have been dampened.”
Mr. Zaher Srour, Director of Partnerships (Middle East), Coursera, spoke about how blended learning has become an important trend in universities. “Blended learning is here to stay, and now universities not only in developed countries but in emerging countries are expanding their online teaching and learning capacities.”
THE Emerging Economies Summit 2021 was held in partnership with the United Arab Emirates University.