GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Corporate Universities in the GCC: The Necessity for Custom-Designed Market-Driven Higher Education Institutions in the 21st Century
Paper Proposal Text :
The rapid change in the global economy towards science and knowledge, along with the massive development provided by ICT, have resulted in creating a root change in the composition of modern communities and the fundamental elements that form them. Knowledge has become the essential component of modern economies, through which new structures are being implemented in order to transform traditional economies to become knowledge-based economies. One of the biggest global challenges faces knowledge-based economies is the quality of workforce. In addition, this challenge have higher orders of complications in developing and transitional economies, such as the GCC countries.
Traditionally, higher education institutes in the developing countries faced different fundamental challenges within their societies and have not been able to perform their expected role. One example of such challenges is the quality of graduates and their readiness to the labor market. Another challenge is the wide gap existing between universities and the industries, which has resulted in the very limited amount of applied research activities in most of the developing countries. Accordingly, with the transformation towards knowledge-based economies, higher education institutions are facing more complicated challenges, and hence innovative solutions are urgently needed in order to overcome such challenges.
The higher education sector around the world has undergone major changes during the past two decades due to the accelerated pace of global developments. Key changes in the business environment such as globalization, growing importance of knowledge, and the shift towards services, have all highly affected this important sector.
During the past decade, there has been a growing interest in investing in the higher education sector in all the GCC countries. Moreover, since 2001 the higher education sector in the GCC has been open for private investments. Many private higher education institutes were created since then, all of which are affiliated with international partners through different models and forms. From business point of view, higher education institutions in the GCC have are profitable more than many traditional industries found in the region. Moreover, with advanced ICT creating such institutions became even simpler and less expensive. This, of course, have highly affected the quality of the learning process and produced graduates that are less competence and of low caliber.
The pace of global change has accelerated in recent years, and the business environment is being transformed by structural changes at global and national levels. This transformation into a knowledge-based societies is being driven, in part, by modern digital technologies such as computers, telecommunications, and networks that are reshaping both our society and our social institutions. As a fundamental part of societies, the higher education sector was substantially affected by those changes during the past decade, with some segments changed more dramatically than others. Clearly, in an age of knowledge, higher education will flourish in the decades ahead. In a knowledge-intensive society the need for advanced education and knowledge will become ever more pressing, both for individuals and for our societies more broadly. Yet, it is also likely that the university as we know it today, or rather the current constellation of diverse institutions that comprise the higher education enterprise, will change in profound ways to serve a changing world.
Traditionally, Corporate Universities are defined as educational institutions supplying training courses, whose founding organization is not an educational institute1. Also, corporate universities are defined as educational entities that is a strategic tool designed to assist its parent organization in achieving its mission by conducting activities that cultivate individual and organizational learning, knowledge and wisdom. (Allen, 2002). In general, Corporate Universities can act as effective catalysts for activities that would otherwise dislocate to different departments with the subsequent risk of poor coordination
The purpose of this paper is to discuss an innovative idea to create Custom-Designed Market-Driven Higher Education Institutions through close collaboration between traditional universities and the industries. Through such collaborations, developing countries will be able to get high quality well trained graduates that are ready to join specific industries as immediate workforce.

1. Eurich, N. P., 1985, Corporate classrooms: The learning business. Princeton: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
2. Allen, M. (Ed.). (2002). The corporate university handbook—Designing, managing and growing a successful program. New York: AMACOM.