The Need for Continuing Education in Management Development: Case of Kuwait University
Alansari, Eissa M., Al-Shehab, Ali J., Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal
The need for continuing education in management development was investigated with special reference to Kuwait University, and the nature and practice of continuing education, its purposes, problems and its evaluation in relation to management development were reviewed. It was concluded that education supports the creation of new social relationships and that continuing education must remedy the failures of formal education, and the existing distortion of socioeconomic and cultural aspects of society. Recommendations are made to facilitate achievement of these goals.
Keywords: continuing education, management development, Kuwait.
Continuing education can be defined as an education that comprises conferences, seminars, and refresher courses that occur while a person is in paid employment. Thus, it provides chances for employers and workers to gradually upgrade their skills. Ubeku (1975) points out that an employee should be helped to grow into more responsibility by systematic training and development. He also states that continuing education can be described as a kind of learning environment and educational program whereby the learner is given the opportunity to acquire some kind of organized knowledge, and to be able to combine his/her studies with other work activities. This could be done from home or place of work. The aim is to improve skills for specific purposes, usually to improve academic qualifications and add to experience.
Through the human resources of an organization, continuing education is an effective and efficient fundamental way to update and keep abreast of the explosion of knowledge. George (1977) states that manpower is considered an economic resource. It represents the aggregate of skills and attitudes resulting from education plus training that equips a labor force with a capacity to plan, organize, and carry out economic processes.
Olaitan (1986) examined the US Government Printing Office and showed that manpower development involves efforts to stimulate more employment opportunities, to upgrade the skills and adaptability of the work force, and to link job and person more effectively. Thus development in manpower means the gradual upgrading of the employee's knowledge, skills and attitudes for present and future roles in the industry. It equips individuals to enable them to perform present jobs effectively and prepares them adequately for future challenges.
Opuwill and Uwameiye (2003) discuss the need for continuing education in manpower development and conclude that it is very necessary to increase liaison and communication between industrial organizations and educational institutions in curriculum planning and development. They suggest that this could include a careful review of the criteria of the formal education system.
Eliason, Blinn and Perry (2003) state that approaches to forest management are changing as the public's expectations about forest resources broaden, environmental concern grows, and scientific knowledge about forests advances. Natural resource professionals rely in part on continuing education to stay abreast of new ideas and strategies for managing forest resources. The authors of that study conducted a series of focus groups to ensure that such educational programs are successful in instructing about natural resource professionals' education needs with regard to voluntary timber harvesting and forest management guidelines. Recommendations for conducting forest management guideline education programs were presented and these recommendations also apply generally to education programs for other natural resource professionals.
The current study looks at the need for continuing education in management development, and reviews its nature and practice, purposes, problems and evaluation in relation to management development with special reference to the Center for Continuing Education and Community Service at Kuwait University.
THE LABOR MARKET AND EDUCATION IN KUWAIT
Lundgren (1978) identifies economic changes that demand new knowledge and skills, and change within the educational system. Kuwait is an example of a country with this motive for educational expansion and change. Changes in the economic structure of Kuwait society occurred during the late 1930s when oil export began. oil, which accounts for about 98% of the total government revenue, has raised Kuwaiti per capita income to one of the highest in the world. Oil export has made Kuwait one of the most active commercial centers in the Middle East. These changes in the economic structure have led to changes in the labor market. As a result, foreigners came to Kuwait causing the foreign population to gradually outnumber Kuwaiti citizens.
There is a need for technicians and specialists in various fields to fill the labor vacuum and meet new demands in the labor market and a need for the services of scientists and educators to fill the vacuum as well as to provide training for Kuwaiti manpower and thus decrease the need for foreign labor. Changes also occurred in the educational system such that the increase in the family income and standards of living on the individual levels made it possible for parents to provide for their children more educational opportunities than they themselves had enjoyed.
Likewise, the government provided some educational plans which included expansion of general education as well as the introduction of vocational education and expanded educational opportunities to meet the increasing demands for manpower in various socioeconomic sectors.
The Center for Continuing Education and Community Service is one of the important centers in Kuwait University. It was established in the second semester of the academic year 1976-1977 and is now an integral part of Kuwait University. The purpose of this Center is to establish a direct contact with Kuwaiti society and to follow the example of most modern universities in the world.
The Center's plan includes a comprehensive study of Kuwaiti society and its institutions regarding needs and training problems as follows:
1) Conducting research to find out to what extent the university could provide citizens and residents of Kuwait with knowledge and skills needed on the job for personal development and satisfaction.
2) Exchanging experience and coordinating its efforts with those of other universities, adult education institutions, and research centers on local, regional and international levels.
3) Evaluating the public service program offered by the Center through continual feedback from those who directly or indirectly benefit from it.
The Center for Continuing Education and Community Service provides inservice training in the following areas:
1) Language learning which includes the teaching as second languages of: Arabic, English, French, German, Spanish, Hebrew and so on. The Center also provides the teaching of English for a special purpose such as conversational English, Business English, and translations.
2) Computer studies which consist of training in all computer programming languages and systems analysis.
3) Secretarial skills which consist of training courses in typing, word processing and other secretarial skills.
4) Commercial subjects which consist of subjects dealing with business administration, economics, banking, marketing, and so on.
There are other courses offered by the Center such as Islamic studies, photography, and home economics.
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH IN CONTINUING EDUCATION AT KUWAIT UNIVERSITY CENTER OF CONTINUING EDUCATION
At present, scientific research is considered the ideal method of exploring facts and relationships, planning, carrying out follow-up, evaluation, experimentation and decision making, predicting phenomena and events and applying results. The need for continuing education has increased enormously since the existing educational establishments have become unable to satisfy the needs of those interested in acquiring more knowledge, whether it be those who missed the chance to be educated, or those who want to pursue the recent developments and to cope with the requirements of developing professions or to make use of their spare time. Conventional educational establishments frequently suffer from rigidity, backwardness and lack of planning in building up curricula or in applying necessary modifications and integrating them into real life.
Continuing education is not limited to any particular category of society, or to one stage of an individual's life, nor is it restricted to certain buildings or facilities or equipment. It incorporates all individuals, considering them as teachers and learners at the same time regarding all places and times as schools and schedules respectively. More specifically, it incorporates educating everybody regardless of class, sex or ethnicity.
Research in continuing education can be conducted in different fields such as notions, objectives, programs, methods and techniques, development, requirements, and so on. In developing continuing education, different studies can be conducted to survey the methods and techniques in use, to test proposed methods, and to evaluate existing methods so as to develop them. Also, studies can be done to evaluate the programs, teachers, technicians, and facilities available such as buildings, and equipment.
At Kuwait University Center for Continuing Education (KUCCE), several authors have conducted evaluation studies for development from different points of view - for example, Al-Ansari (2005), Al-Ansari and Al-Eideh (2005) and Safi (1984). Reports have also been written evaluating the Center and are available in the Center's Year Book (2003), and Internal Report (1977). In particular, Al-Ansari (2005) focuses on the interactive relationships between students' motivation and cognition in the College of Education at Kuwait University.
Al-Ansari and Al-Eideh (2005) introduced new information indices for the services offered by the KUCCE. They also addressed the probability distributions and the statistical properties of the individual information indices for the KUCCE. The Community Service Information Index (CSII) was established to measure the knowledge of individuals, in the community, about the programs and training courses offered by the Center through its three divisions; Continuing Education, Training Programs and Information Technology.
Safi (1984) conducted a students' and instructors' evaluation study on the Center's evening courses at Kuwait University. This study showed the students' requirements and helped the Center to develop its programs and meet their objectives.
THE ROLE OF CONTINUING EDUCATION IN MANAGEMENT DEVELOPMENT
The role of continuing education in management development, especially in social and economic development, needs to be seen both in the context of the weakness emerging in the formal system of education and in the realization that learning and development take place through a wide variety of learning systems. Continuing education represents a shift in emphasis in educational process: the teacher-dominated learning system is replaced by the learner-dominated learning system. Thus education becomes truly need-based both in felt and perceived terms; it assumes the character of an integrated package of learning activities in place of compartmentalized subjects.
The development phenomenon also has a qualitative change in which the emphasis has shifted from activities aimed at increasing the Gross National Product (GNP) to that of increasing Gross National Welfare (GNW). Thus, educational planners are beginning to realize that industrial culture has left too many human needs unfulfilled by considering only the industrialization indicator of growth. Development is now being viewed as a process whereby all citizens must be equipped to play an important part. Continuing education as related to such a development process necessitates training and retaining of the work force, meaningful use of leisure time and concern for the betterment of the weaker section of society.
The link between education and science and technology becomes a necessity because continuing progress in science and technology leads to repeated increase in skill training in an individual's lifetime. Also, the hierarchical division in social structure in terms of elites and nonelites has sharpened the need to encourage everyone's participation in social and cultural life. From this perspective, continuing education seeks to harmonize people's participation in the growth of organized behavior in society.
Economically speaking, continuing education, as related to development, should give priority to the need to take individuals and groups who have worked in the traditional labor market with production skills suitable to that environment and equip them with the skills to work in a modern market. Thus continuing education has multiple manifestations; workshops in schools, courses of instruction in companies, alternation between work and education, and use of nonprofessional teachers. In terms of social development, continuing education is a process of intervention which could remedy those handicaps resulting from the nonparticipation of people whose exclusion has resulted from their social background and home conditions. It is in this context that there is a growing concern for an alternative pedagogy for the weaker sections of society.
Adiseshiah (1980) points out that poverty must not be looked at from the point of view of the rich and well-to-do; he thinks that
urban poverty is a social status resulting from the use of assets of the community in such a way that the basic wants of the majority are not met, and the relatively unlimited needs of the minority are fairly, fully and increasing met.
People look for ways to increase their existing income levels to meet their minimum needs. This is often an unfulfilled task in a situation wherein the entire economic force and philosophy rest on industrialization, urbanization, modern marketing techniques, and money.
To develop programs in centers of continuing education, there must be consultation between academics and those working in the community to ensure that the programs not only promote excellence in education but are also useful for fulfilling the needs of the community. Continuing education programs are in no way inferior to other educational programs. In fact, this kind of education demands much more of a professor's interest. It offers the opportunity to teach and to learn at the same time. The whole process consists of identifying excellence and harnessing it in continuing education programs.
Therefore, the formulation of well-defined policies must take into account the beneficiaries of continuing education efforts. The policies should seek to promote an equitable sharing of resources generated in the process of comprehensive development. Continuing education should also be acknowledged as equal in importance in all respects to formal education. The setting-up of continuing education institutions in service and production sectors with strong financial and manpower support would be a necessary condition for such policy formulation. This should be taken into account in the case of Kuwait University.
Education, in this process, is both a sector and strategy of the developmental process supporting the creation of new social relationships based on efficiency, equality, and social justice rather than on the maintenance of the status quo. It is a development which considers the individual as its centre, beginning from him/ her as a source and means, and culminates in him/her as an end. Most societies have tended to follow the goals of modernization including industrialization and urbanization, viewing them as concomitant with goals of comprehensive development. The development strategy now seems to be moving towards a concern for the quality of life index through a fulfillment of basic needs in society.
Continuing education must remedy the failures of formal education in its neglect of the have-nots of society and its preoccupation with theory rather than action. Also, continuing education must influence the formal system to bring it into the mainstream of social thought and behavior. Furthermore, continuing education as a strategy in human resource development is being called upon to remedy the existing distortions in the socioeconomic and cultural aspects of human life.
The concept of continuing education should be the result of comprehensive knowledge of education in general, and the needs of individual and community should be determined to define the theory and methods of continuing education. Finally, formal education at Kuwait University should be utilized for the service of the Kuwaiti society as a whole.
The setting up of a scientific research center for continuing education for identifying and examining issues of great national importance to fulfill the needs of the Kuwaiti society is recommended. The production of a specialized journal that will publish all research done in this field is also recommended. Additionally, it is suggested that a conference or seminar should be held once a year to enable research centers to exchange views in the service of continuing education and to follow up the drastic increase in needs today because of the present development in computers and the internet. The economic and social framework of society should be considered in the development of continuing education courses. Although private institutions lead to the polarization of students, coordination will be of prime importance to solve this problem. Lack of coordination between the administration and the teaching staff may lead to a number of difficulties, which can hinder the whole educational process.
Adiseshiah, M. S. (1980). Adult education and the urban poor. Indian Journal of Adult Education, 41 (8), 15.
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Center of Community Service and Continuing Education, (1977). Objectives and programs of the Center of Community Service and Continuing Education, Internal Report.
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Eliason, S. K., Blinn, C. R., & Perry, J. A. (2003). Natural resource professional continuing education needs in Minnesota: Focus on forest management guidelines. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry, 20 (2), 71-78.
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Safi, A. (1984). Students' and instructors' evaluation of the evening course at Kuwait University. Kuwait University Center for Evaluation and Measurement.
Ubeku, A. K. (1975). Personnel management in Nigeria. Benin City, Ethiopian Publishing Corporation, pp. 270-279.
EISSA M. ALANSARI AND ALI J. AL-SHEHAB
Kuwait University, Kuwait
Eissa M. Alansari and Ali J. Al-Shehab, College of Education, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait.
Appreciation is due to reviewers including: Basel Al-Eideh, PhD, College of Business Administration, Department of Qualitative Methods and Information Systems, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 5486, Safat 13055, Kuwait, Email: email@example.com; Djilali Bouhmama, PhD, Department of Foundations of Education, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 13281, Keifan 71953, Kuwait, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please address correspondence and reprint requests to: Eissa M. Al-Ansari or Ali J. Al-Shehab, College of Education, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 5969, Safat 13060, Kuwait Email: eisu52@ hotmall.com or email@example.com…
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Publication information: Article title: The Need for Continuing Education in Management Development: Case of Kuwait University. Contributors: Alansari, Eissa M. - Author, Al-Shehab, Ali J. - Author. Journal title: Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal. Volume: 34. Issue: 8 Publication date: September 10, 2006. Page number: 1027+. © 2009 Scientific Journal Publishers, Ltd. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.