YOUNG & AMBITIOUS

Kuwait 2017 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to HE Khaled Nasser Abdullah Al-Roudan, Acting Minister of State for Youth Affairs, on e-platforms and blended learning programs, developing ICT skills, and preparing young people for tomorrow.

HE Khaled Nasser Abdullah Al-Roudan
BIOGRAPHY
HE Khaled Nasser Abdullah Al-Roudan serves as the Minister of Commerce and Industry and assumed the position of Acting Minister of State for Youth Affairs in January 2016. Before his ministerial appointment, he was active in the private sector, with extensive experience in media and marketing. He was the founder and vice-chairman of Senyar Marketing and Branding Company. Furthermore, he worked in investment firms like Bayan Investment Company, M-Net Payment Services Company, and Kuwait and Middle East Investment Company (KEMFIC). Al-Roudan has a degree in business administration, finance, and financial institutions from Kuwait University.

The recently announced New Kuwait initiative aims at raising the bar of the nation's international standards across the board. How do you envision the New Kuwait initiative to govern the policy at your ministry?

The Ministry of State for Youth Affairs (MYA) derives its direction and strategy from both national and international developments, especially as it pertains to youth and their shared vision and mission. As a result, one of the ministry's priorities is the drafting of the country's first National Youth Policy in Kuwait, which addresses a spectrum of aspects covering different youth segments, and focuses on both holistic and multi-sectoral interventions in the field of overall youth development. The key is to build a new generation of pioneers and game-changers that will, in turn, create new industries with the potential to rival the country's current dependency on oil.

Do you envision more e-platforms and blended learning programs?

Private universities in Kuwait are the first in the region to utilize e-learning solutions, as the implementation and integration of ICT systems took place more than a decade ago. As for the public sector, around 83% of public learning institutions have adopted Student Information Systems and 62% are using Learning Management Systems. Kuwait University, our public university, has launched a series of different e-platforms serving different purposes along different fields of study. These will continue to improve in the coming years as we put policies in place in order to improve the adoption of such platforms as we move toward globalization. MYA has played a crucial role by supporting informal education and online training courses. We have also started funding non-profit tech projects that serve the youth through our Initiatives Program. MYA has been a leader in e-services within the government as it currently operates wirelessly across all departments via a custom-designed document management and correspondence system (DMS). In turn, it also provides fully integrated online solutions, which serve our youth community via our website and application.

MYA recently concluded an MoU with tech giant Huawei to develop ICT skills amongst the youth. May we expect more public-private collaborations here?

The government of Kuwait has been working to increase public-private partnerships as it is one of the major focus areas in the Kuwait Vision 2035. When it comes to ICT, Kuwait is amongst the top five in the region in the ICT Development Index and we plan to thrive in that area. That is one of the reasons MYA has been studying the dynamics of corporate social responsibility in Kuwait and taking steps toward creating a CSR ecosystem catering to youth development. MYA has collaborations with ICT leaders such as Ooredoo, Huawei, and many others. And we foresee many more collaborations in the near future.

How do you envision preparing the youth to become the leaders of tomorrow?

MYA has been working toward youth development and empowerment while promoting a sense of citizenship and mutual belonging. Through our vast array of programs, we are leading by example in ensuring the provision of equal opportunities with a high level of transparency and efficiency. We believe firmly that, in order to succeed, full ownership of the youth agenda needs to belong to the youth themselves. As a result, to engage and empower our youth, the ministry has been built for the youth by the youth. Today, the average age of an employee at the ministry is 25 years. This not only allows us to invest in our future leaders, but it also exposes them to needs of their community and allows them to engage fully in the decision-making process.