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Facing Human Capital Challenges of the 21st Century

Facing Human Capital Challenges of the 21st Century: Education and Labor Market Initiatives in Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates

Gabriella Gonzalez
Lynn A. Karoly
Louay Constant
Hanine Salem
Charles A. Goldman
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 332
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  • Book Info
    Facing Human Capital Challenges of the 21st Century
    Book Description:

    Describes the education and labor market initiatives implemented or under way in four countries in the Arab region--Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates--to address the human resource issues they each face as they prepare their countries for a place in the 21st century global economy. Together, these countries highlight the variety of challenges faced by countries in the region and responses to those challenges.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4642-0
    Subjects: Education, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Tables
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Summary
    (pp. xvii-xxvi)
  7. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  8. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxix-xxxii)
  9. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    According to the Framework for Action adopted for Arab states by the 2000 Regional Conference on Education for All (United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization [UNESCO], 2000b), millions of individuals in the Arab region¹ are being deprived of education, and millions are receiving education of poor quality. In addition, most of those receiving an education are not being appropriately prepared for the technological era or the potential for international competition in the new millennium. While primary education enrollments are relatively high (90 percent or higher), secondary and postsecondary education remains elusive for most. And illiteracy rates in the region...

  10. CHAPTER TWO Economic and Sociopolitical Context for Reform in the Four Study Countries
    (pp. 17-30)

    We classified the countries in our study on the basis of four characteristics: source of national wealth, nature of sociopolitical system, diversity of economy, and composition of labor pool.¹ These four characteristics are intrinsically tied to each other. The countries that rely on natural resources for their wealth have similar political systems, have a large public sector that serves as the dominant employer in the country, and need to import expatriate (skilled and unskilled) labor to fill shortages in their local labor pools. Conversely, the countries that have a variety of sources of national wealth share a longer history of...

    (pp. 31-86)

    A peninsula off of Saudi Arabia extending into the Arabian Gulf, the state of Qatar has recently gained international attention for its wealth, which derives from the discovery of vast reserves of natural gas. Like Oman and the UAE, the other two Gulf countries in our study, Qatar presently depends on the exploitation of natural resources for its wealth, rather than on its human resources. This approach has produced great wealth in the short term but has not provided for a sustainable longterm economic development program. Similar to the situation in the other two Gulf countries, Qatar’s national population has...

  12. CHAPTER FOUR The United Arab Emirates
    (pp. 87-146)

    Of the four countries examined in our study, the UAE has the largest oil reserves, estimated at 98 billion barrels, or approximately 100 years at current production levels (OPEC, 2005).¹ The boom in oil production over the past few decades has brought about great infrastructure developments, necessitating a large influx of expatriate labor to fill deficiencies in the skills of the citizen population. Indeed, the UAE’s population rose dramatically as large waves of migrants—mostly from other Arab and South Asian nations—arrived seeking work opportunities. More recently, there has been a steady influx of African, European, and North American...

  13. CHAPTER FIVE Sultanate of Oman
    (pp. 147-198)

    The Sultanate of Oman, situated at the entrance to the Arabian Gulf, is historically and economically unique compared with the other Gulf nations in this study. Its history is one of independence from foreign occupation since its leadership deposed Portuguese colonists in the mid-1700s, and one of alternating between trade and expansionism, and isolation (Cecil, 2006).

    Oman is dealing with a less than certain economic future because its oil reserves—its major source of revenue since oil was discovered here in 1964—are quickly being depleted. This uncertainty about Oman’s economic future has forced its leadership to take measures to...

  14. CHAPTER SIX Lebanon
    (pp. 199-244)

    Lebanon, the one Arab country in our study that is not a Gulf state, borders disputed land and is caught in the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Despite being geographically small, Lebanon has a heterogeneous population that represents diverse ethnic and religious groups and is thus particularly susceptible to the region’s extended political turmoil. The 15-year civil war that began in 1975 demarcates a devastating period in the history of modern Lebanon. During the war, most of the country’s infrastructure was damaged, hundreds of thousands of Lebanese were killed or injured, and around one-quarter of the population was displaced. The...

  15. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusions
    (pp. 245-262)

    The countries examined in this study are facing a number of human resource challenges, to a large extent reflecting the range of issues affecting countries throughout the Arab region. Our four study countries are at various stages of implementing reforms and policy initiatives to address these challenges. We found that while the motivations for these reforms and other initiatives are oftentimes similar, the countries’ specific approaches can be distinctly different. More common across the study countries is a gap between implementation of reforms and evaluation of whether they are having the intended effect. In many cases, the reforms have only...

  16. APPENDIX A Interviews Conducted
    (pp. 263-264)
  17. APPENDIX B Interview Protocol
    (pp. 265-268)
  18. APPENDIX C Qatar Higher Education Institute Scholarship Programs
    (pp. 269-272)
  19. APPENDIX D Private Institutions of Higher Education in Oman
    (pp. 273-276)
  20. APPENDIX E Recent Economic Reform Efforts in Oman
    (pp. 277-282)
  21. References
    (pp. 283-300)