UAE universities should promote lifelong learning by recognising the value of vocational qualifications, says Edexcel

Published August 10th, 2010 - 09:12 GMT

Edexcel, the UK's largest academic and vocational qualifications awarding body and part of Pearson, the world's leading education services provider, has urged UAE universities to transfer credits of vocational training programs to allow working people to pursue lifelong learning.

Mark Andrews, MENA Regional Director, Edexcel said: "We urge universities in the UAE to allow candidates who have completed BTEC National Diploma or Higher National Diploma qualifications to transfer their credits to bachelors or masters degrees. This will go a long way in permitting people to continue their education without compromising their careers."

Currently, only three UAE universities – Middlesex, Heriot-Watt and American University in Emirates – compared to 48 in the UK allow holders of Edexcel BTEC HNDs to transfer credits to the relevant Associate or Bachelors programmes.

Edexcel's exclusive BTEC qualifications provide a practical, real-world approach to learning alongside a theoretical background. They are designed both to replicate the professional working environment and provide learners with the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to succeed in the current job market. Various opportunities for higher education are available for BTEC HND holders in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Australasia.

Andrews added: "A large portion of the population in the Gulf is below 22 years of age. These people will enter the job market soon and it is imperative to arm them with the right professional tools, besides the theoretical knowledge. The region's education system is working to support the rising demand for skill sets and this is one of the most effective ways of doing so. Moreover, employability of students is a big challenge if not accompanied with practical skills and knowledge".

Edexcel is the UK's largest awarding body offering academic and vocational qualifications and testing to schools, colleges, employers and other places of learning in the UK and internationally.

Edexcel's general qualifications offered worldwide include GCSEs, IGCSEs, and GCE AS and A Levels, while vocational qualifications include NVQ and BTEC from entry level to higher national diplomas. Each year, over 4 million learners enroll for an Edexcel qualification in more than 85 countries.

"UAE universities are renowned for their academic excellence and commitment to delivering professionally relevant programmes. In order to maintain that reputation, they must either start preparing students for the workplace by adding more vocational courses or qualifications to the official curriculum in order to meet employers' needs, or at least recognise the value of vocational qualifications by granting holders of such qualifications credit towards a university degree," said Andrews.

In addition to university recognition, 85 professional organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants grant exemption for their own professional qualifications for holders of the relevant BTEC qualifications.


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