Impact of Science Education on the GCC Labor Market
1st Edition Year: 2011
Edition: First edition
The large population of expatriates and other non-nationals has outpaced the population of nationals in many Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Expatriates have come to Gulf countries to fill several niches in the labor market, which has segmented the labor market around wages, skills and employment sectors. This labor market segmentation has been characterized by GCC nationals holding stable and high-status jobs in the public sector, which generally do not require specific education or skills. However, the labor market is becoming increasingly less segmented as expatriates and non-nationals continue to fill private sector positions throughout the GCC labor market at all levels of pay and responsibility. Evidence suggests that creating both a competitive and amenable labor market for GCC nationals in the private sector will require a labor strategy focusing on strengthening investment in human capital. Doing this requires a significant investment in education either formally or informally. From a policy perspective, science education has been perceived to be one of the most important and rapid methods of building human capital for labor market readiness and productivity.
This monograph contextualizes the labor market relative to science education and vice versa in the GCC countries, and summarizes the literature on the topic before turning to the 2007 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) data to examine comparatively science education and expectations for university and labor market transitions within and across GCC countries compared to international trends. This data is also examined to determine the specific differences in GCC nationals’ and non-nationals’ science knowledge and skills acquisition, which contribute to labor market participation and productivity in GCC countries. Finally, the TIMSS 2007 data is analyzed to compare the differences between national and non-national expectations and understanding of the labor market relative to their science knowledge and skills. The findings reported here provide a data-based portrait of the contribution of science education in GCC countries to labor market potential and participation of nationals and non-nationals. The results of these analyses provide a strong evidence base for policymakers in GCC countries to make decisions about science education and labor market policy. Finally, the monograph itself concludes with several evidence-based policy recommendations for complementing existing strategies aimed at creating a more competitive environment for the transition of GCC nationals into the private sector labor market in GCC countries.
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