TRANSFORMING TEACHING INSPIRING LEARNING

HEC, Bahrain

"The HEA understand our problems and for us to achieve our ambition over the next five years, we need to be working closely with partners like the HEA who really understand what it means to be a good teacher, what it means in terms of designing curricula, what it means in terms of working with employers and what it means in terms of delivering really positive student outcomes. So we are excited to be working with the HEA over the next few years."

Cameron Mirza
Head of Projects, Higher Education Council, Kingdom of Bahrain

Background

The employability of graduates and students is of paramount importance to any country. According to Cameron Mirza, head of strategy and projects at Bahrain’s Higher Education Council, ‘Only 20-25% of employers in the whole region are happy with the quality of graduates so that’s why employability is so important to us.’

‘Employability is a massive area of tension for us because employers tell us that they want graduates with employability skills, they want graduates with the 21st century skills, the soft skills, the communications skills, the problem solving critical thinking that will help boost the private sector, the public sector and create a better society for Bahrain.’

The Higher Education Academy was commissioned by the Higher Education Council of Bahrain, via the British Council, to help formulate and implement a plan to embed employability into the curriculum of the universities across the Kingdom. This is part of the Kingdom’s economic vision 2030.

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The brief

To equip universities with knowledge and strategies to embed employability into the curriculum in order to meet the skills needs of employers and to ensure that students can fulfil their potential.

Our approach

The HEA developed and ran a workshop, working with the Higher Education Council of Bahrain and the British Council. The purpose of the workshop was to support institutions to develop their curriculum in order to address employability more effectively and to raise standards across the board. We introduced staff to a process for employability, using the HEA’s Embedding Employability framework as a starting point. The framework provided delegates with a process to evaluate their practice, identifying areas of strength and areas for development and a structure for monitoring progress. Upon completion of the workshop, delegates were able to take this process back to their institution where they could use it to ensure that they have effective support in place for their students and also to look at whether they can inform the curriculum taking on board what employers are actually saying about what they want from graduates and using that to inform the curriculum

Outcomes

'The HEA are really good partners. They understand Bahrain, they understand the Middle East, and our issues here in Bahrain. They do not provide something off the shelf. Whatever they’ve done for us and will continue to do is to be adaptive, and contextualise for Bahrain’s needs and that’s what sets them apart. As well as their people who have great energy, great experience and are a pleasure to work with.'

Cameron Mirza, Head of Projects, Higher Education Council, Kingdom of Bahrain

'We hope that this workshop will contribute to bridging the gap between the labour market and the higher education curriculum. This was our main focus and our main goal out of it. We have seen a lot of positive reactions from the attendees – there were attendees from all the universities in Bahrain – and from the Higher Education Council and the Ministry of Education.'

Kawthar AlArab, Programme Manager, British Council, Bahrain

'What I really appreciate is that the Higher Education Council have really searched for an international house of expertise in the name of the HEA in the UK and they’ve brought leading professionals and we’ve really learned a great deal from this workshop.'

Professor Mansoor Ahmed Alaali, President of Ahlia University

'I learnt a lot, for example, how to engage students in employability, how to plan for employability on many levels: at a strategic level; on the curriculum; teaching and learning strategies and; assessment strategies used in the curriculum. '

Dr. Sharif ElWageeh, Assistant Professor, Kingdom University

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