Earthlink is helping to modernize university’s curricula


Iraq is classified as one of the most youthful countries in the world because nearly half of its population is under the age of twenty-one. Unfortunately, unemployment in the country, which, in 2014, the UN reported as 653 thousand, continues to rise along with the poverty rate. The statistics highlight the plight of these groups, and the importance of working to provide young people with appropriate employment in order to address this crisis. Especially university Graduates.

How do we reduce unemployment in Iraq?

In 2011, the government provided 40% of employment opportunities, and the private sector provided the rest. To discourage the private sector from its current reliance on products, and skilled workers imported from abroad, the country’s young people should be better qualified, and raw materials for industry should be produced locally.
Ammar Waleed Al-Ani, the program manager at IREX, said: “Training individuals to work requires developing education, improving all of its plans and programs, as well as qualifying students for work. To do this, the education sector must be in continual communication with the market, conducting in-depth dialogues to identify areas where work is needed, developing new study programs, and looking at which ones can be improved. Moreover, they should not exclude the evaluation, and development of education strategies within classrooms; increasing the proportion of applied education, and what depends on the market.”

What is the US-Iraq Partnership Program?

Al-Ani also pointed out that “the basic idea of the university partnership programs, supported by the US Embassy, is to update the Iraqi curriculum as much as possible and improve the teaching methods used in the classrooms to simulate the rapid movement of the market and ensure that graduates have an abundance of jobs. To do this, we should established a permanent meeting point  between the private sector and higher education to study the needs of the market, and choose the best way to provide them. This would involve periodic meetings with the participation of various private companies and the Ministry of Higher Education.”
The program manager at the International Research and Exchange Council (IREX) added that “the first session was held on September 13 in the presence of the Minister of Higher Education and the R&D Department of the Ministry, as well as the Department of Planning and Follow-up.

Did the privet sector contribute?

Al-Ani also added “We’ve selected a group of companies, of various sizes. And with assorted disciplines and from different geographical locations, to help us better understand the market. Several telecommunications companies were present, including Earthink and Zain, as were a number of oil companies including Shilom and Qi Card. The Council also included other interested parties responsible for the formulation of education, and vocational training strategies for the education, sports, and youth in addition to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. He added:“ We devided the companies into three working groups: the first will target education. The second will focus on the development of the curriculum. The third, which Earthlink participated in, will add new practical approaches.”

How will Earthlink contribute to the introduction of new approaches at Iraqi universities?

Mohammed Al Awad, Human Resources Manager at Earthlink said: “Our contribution to the project included accurate geographic statistics for the jobs at Earthlink.”

Al Awad added ” We also delivered a complete picture of what we and the other companies are looking for. Our data were in terms of the knowledge, experience, and qualifications that graduate students need in order to find work. We believe the private sector has an important role to play in strengthening the country’s economy. And perhaps helping young people, and finding solutions to the lack of experienced workers. And the lack of employment opportunities will benefit our society. As well as the private sector that is ready to help.”

Why Earthlink contributed in the project?

Mr. Ali Essam, the IT manager at Earthlink, said: “Our contribution to the project aims to create strong, and sustainable links with educational institutions. It shall enable them to keep abreast of market developments and help the workforce understand them.”
HRat Earthlink confirmed that “Earthlink’s contribution includes all its divisions. Those divisions are the technical departments, accounts and sales, power, the operations control center, the operations department, and human resources. These departments hold meetings within the company to determine which skills graduates will need, in order to work at Earthlink. Company representatives, then transfer the results to the Advisory Council. Then the Council discusses them and decides whether or not to add them to the curriculum”
“Our country depends on young graduates right now, and by supporting them and qualifying them. We will be able to achieve what foreign countries have achieved in the development of education – perhaps even more.”

What will the project achieve?

“Last year, IREX and the University of Technology implemented an innovation called the Design Day Exhibition.” says Ammar Alani. He added: “The exhibition allows the university to market and sells things that students have produced. Those products were part of their studies. So, students are encouraged to produce whatever they like.”

This not only gives them experience but also qualifies them to work after graduation. The result was that four students from the university obtained a patent for their products. One of them also met with the head of the chemistry department. The company was seeking to develop a particular chemical product for manufacturing. The company encouraged the student to produce the material. And thus the university became part of the production process. And was able to provide the community and the market with what they needed. As well as benefitting the student – the initial aim of the project.”

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June 2, 2018

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