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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Students pick humanities over sciences

UAE students preferring majors that may not be in line with the requirements of the market are among the main educational obstacles facing the knowledge development of the UAE, an expert said during the Knowledge Conference on Monday.

The Arab Knowledge Report 2014 said two-thirds of UAE students are majoring in humanities rather than in sciences and mathematics. This is according to the World Bank report.

"There is a shortage of people studying medicine, engineering and information and communication technologies (ICT). Most students tend to enrol in humanities, forcing the country to hire foreign expertise ... this is a negative factor impeding the transfer and localisation of knowledge and transformation of the society as a knowledge-based one," the report read.

Dr Gaith Fariz, Director and Coordinator of the Arab Knowledge Report, said there is an imbalance in majors as 25.7 per cent of students in higher education are majoring in business, 23.4 per cent are majoring in education-related majors, 10.3 per cent in engineering, 1.1 per cent in medicine and 0.1 per cent in agriculture.

Educational challenges are not the only ones the report highlighted. The human resource challenges are also affected by students choosing to major in humanities.

"One of the major challenges facing the UAE in the transfer and localisation of knowledge is the limited local human capital, which makes up 11.5 per cent of the total population," read the report.