Quality of Secondary Education and Labour Market Requirement

By Ghailani, Juma S.; Khan, Sami A. | Journal of Services Research, April 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

Quality of Secondary Education and Labour Market Requirement


Ghailani, Juma S., Khan, Sami A., Journal of Services Research


INTRODUCTION

The economic, social and technological changes have become more intense than ever in the 21st century. These changes have forced nations worldwide to redefine and restructure their strategies for developing people's knowledge and competencies so that they can live and work meaningfully. The value of human capital has never been so important than today, as we are living in a knowledge era where skills and education become quickly out of date. The education system as a whole has been the subject of continuous evaluation and reinforcement.

The role of education and training in enhancing the chances of better quality of life, prosperity and peace is being appreciated worldwide. The secondary level of education in particular plays a very critical role in shaping the human capital of a nation. Without compromising the goal of countries' commitment to provide secondary education on a mass basis there is a need to redefine the role of the secondary education system in order to align it with the current needs of the economy and society at large. There is stronger need to evaluate the challenges faced by the secondary education system in the Sultanate of Oman. It is necessary to identify the desirable roles, which can be played by the different stakeholders.

SECONDARY EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT

Growth and development economists have placed great emphasis on the effect of education on the level of economic development. Barro (2001) identifies the rule of law, international openness, inflation, the fertility rate, the investment ratio and more importantly education as the variables determining economic growth and development. He is of the view that those countries that have better human capital absorb superior technology at a faster pace. Secondly, a country that starts with a high ratio of human to physical capital is likely to grow more rapidly by adjusting upwards the quantity of physical capital, which is easier to adjust than human capital. No one can deny that growth is positively related to both the quantity and quality of education (Moosa, 2002).

Oman has come a long way as far as education in the Sultanate is concerned. From 3 schools, 909 students and not more than 30 teachers in 1970. Sultanate of Oman has 980 state schools in addition to 140 private schools. The government pays high priority to education of both girls and boys and more than 25,000 teachers are involved in imparting school education in government schools. In the year 1998-1999, the government has introduced a new basic education system based on 10+2. It will replace the existing system of 6 years of primary, 3 years of preparatory and 3 years of secondary schooling. New learning resource centers have been setup in this regard with modern facilities and teaching aids. We still, we have to go a long way in strengthening our school education system in general and secondary education system in particular.

As evident the economic returns are very high for primary and secondary education for a country. Most of the industrialized countries spend huge amounts of money on elementary education. In fact in these countries, the ratio between the higher education and elementary education is 2:1. Whereas for the Middle East and North African countries it is found to be larger (World Bank, 1980). Moreover, the quality of education suffers if the primary and secondary education budget is spread over more expensive tertiary education. In fact most of the East Asian countries spend more on primary education than Middle East countries (Isfahani, 2002). The investment in human capital can be appreciated largely if secondary education is paid equal attention in terms of resource allocation with a higher level of benchmarking.

The UNESCO international expert meeting on General Secondary Education in the 21st century held in Beijing in May 2001 identified the framework for meeting the challenges of secondary education and to redefine its objective and functions. …

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