The Faculty of Business Administration & Economics at Haigazian University organized a conference titled “The Impact of the Educational Sector on the Economy”, which took place on Friday the 30th of November 2018, in the University’s auditorium. The half-day conference aimed at examining the effect of both the quantity and quality of education on the economy in general and on economic development and growth in particular. It brought together experts and scholars from the education and economic sectors, who debated and exchanged ideas on the present and future impacts of the educational sector on the economy.
The conference opened with the welcoming note of the Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration & Economics, Dr. Fadi Asrawi, who shared with the audience important statistical data concerning the education sector in lebanon . Asrawi briefed about the 2017 report of the World Bank on the link of education to economy, saying, “Education is an investment with high returns in Lebanon .An analysis of individual level earnings shows that those with higher levels of education, on average, have higher earnings. Therefore, the positive association between education and earnings frames education as an investment with an economic return, as well as other returns in terms of human and social development”.
In his address, University President Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian shared his thoughts on the topic, pointing out to three points of convergence between education as a mission and economics as a condition. Haidostian first focused on the Human Capital and the importance of “goodness”, then he moved on to a second point of convergence, which is Knowledge Inflation, underlining the importance of keeping a balance and slowing the gap between the human potential and ever-growing knowledge, to finally focus on the Future, and how important is for education to be future and hope-oriented.
First to speak was the General Secretary of the Catholic Schools in Lebanon, Father Boutros Azar on “the Impact of the Education Sector on the Economy”. Father Azar shared with the audience the current educational crisis lebanon is facing due to political tensions and corruption. Father Azar underlined the importance of investing in education as a base for preparing the future good citizens, good governance, and hence successful and prospering economy.
In his presentation entitled “Education and Economic Development”, Director General of Education at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Mr. Fadi Yarak, described education as “the key that unlocks security, prosperity, and progress in Lebanon and every other society worldwide.” Yarak shared with the audience the Ministry’s mission in aiming to provide every child, regardless of his/her gender, socioeconomic background, disability, or any other issue, with access to a high quality education, thus equipping students with the knowledge and skills needed for prosperity and progress at the economic, social, and personal levels. “We believe education is the most critical element for moving from mere survival to progress, individually and collectively”, Yarak noted.
The Management and Marketing Expert at the Ministry of Economy and Trade, Mr. Imad Youssef, who was there to represent the Director General of the Ministry, Mrs. Alia Abbas, talked about “The Role of the Ministry of Economy and Trade in the Education Sector”. Youssef focused on the role of universities in enhancing the economic growth of the country, the needed strategy to be implemented to move forward, and on the crucial importance of the collaboration between universities and the public sector, specifically in areas on how to help the Ministry of Economy and Trade in being more effective and efficient in its duties and projects.
The General Secretary for the Association of Evangelical Schools in Lebanon, and the Executive Director for the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development, Dr. Nabil Costa, tackled the topic of “Leadership and Management Capacity Development of Education Institutions”, as a major agent of change in any society with a power to influence the economy. Costa presented the new “Graduate Profile”, whereby high school students build essential traits for success in the work place, or as entrepreneurs, and are exposed to the concepts of accountability, integrity, critical thinking, creativity, etc… Costa concluded his speech by putting particular emphasis on the topic of “inclusivity”, saying, “the economy will be much stronger and more productive, when we turn our schools into inclusive environments, where the youth is taught the principles of respect and tolerance despite differences, and where each individual is given the chance to become a productive and self-dependent citizen, despite the disabilities he/she might have”.
For his part, Programme Specialist in Higher Education at the UNESCO – Beirut, Dr. Anasse Bouhlal, talked about the “The Role of the UNESCO in Education and its Impact on the Economy”. Bouhlal introduced the global trends in higher education toward the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) mainly SDG4. “This will be possible with a responsive study programs and curricula that provide graduates with the skills and competencies demanded of the modern labour market’, Bouhlal said. Global trends include ever increasing demand in higher education and increasing mobility of global students. Bouhlal also underlined the thorough need of the global education sector to research & development and innovation
Last to speak was the Principal St. Elie College – Btina, Mrs. Laura Rizk, on “The Effect of Technological Change and Digitalization on Education”. Living in an era of Digital Revolution, Rizk focused on the fact that “the world is moving from being an information society into being a knowledge society.” In this respect, Rizk shed light on the development of technology and how it is affecting on the role of schools and all its components, from students to teachers to parents. While it’s a common fact that technology engages and motivates students, thus, educating the person of the future with the tools of the present, Rizk presented, in addition to the many advantages of the digitalized learning, its disadvantages and suggested various ways to avoid its downfalls.
All sessions were moderated by Faculty Member Lena Urneshlian. An interactive Q&A followed each speaker, allowing the audience to share their thoughts and questions regarding the topic.
The conference concluded with a luncheon in the Mugar Hall.
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