OMAR BASODAN

Saudi Arabia 2021 | EDUCATION | VIP INTERVIEW

TETEC is looking to focus more on certification and courses related to online education and training moving forward in light of growing demand for such skills in the future. Here, TBY talks to Omar Basodan, CEO of National Company for Training and Education Technologies (TETEC).

How did technology help develop a productive strategy for TETEC during COVID-19?

TETEC has benefited from the background of an IT company and a solid team of the IT specialists. Because of that, the company was able to change all the activities includes to a fully online service. We have been working completely online for more than two months, and each of our staff has their full office available from home and full connectivity to the systems. TETEC has been doing that now completely online.

How will leaders of education and training adapt their strategies after COVID-19 to survive the new normal?

Although the situation has enhanced and encouraged educational institutes to work on e-learning and online training, an important issue is conducting testing remotely. Online testing is not a new issue; there were a number of international companies and platforms that used to offer online testing, though that was used mainly for certain certificates. Now, candidates are not able to attend or come to the classes, so they have to do this remotely. A number of universities have been conducting exams online, and since it is a new practice, there have been a number of issues concerning security, validity, and other standards for the examinations. In the coming years, this is likely to become standardized for conducting examinations. However, as the sector of general education or pre-university schools is huge and to reduce the possible issues, the Ministry of Education has decided it will have a pass/fail grading system for the schools for instance.

What courses and qualifications will people need for the new normal?

COVID-19 has kept everyone at home and mandated the need for online communication, so all the courses and qualifications related to this issue are being used to enhance the skills of online work, communication, and activities such as archiving or utilizing virtual cloud storage systems and other needed activities. These will be important courses for the next two to three years to increase the capability of the workforce, conduct the required standard of activities, and achieve the performance indices. On the other hand, we are not only looking at the office and working requirements but also looking at the business industries. For example, we expect e-commerce to emerge further. Such businesses or industries are gaining market share, and TETEC is now concentrating on producing a number of certificates that are under development for e-commerce and digital marketing and identifying what kind of certification might be needed for business opportunities in the future.

What is your priority currently after previously focusing on cybersecurity?

Our priority is now on certification and skills related to online education and training such as online businesses and trade through various industries. In the coming few years, such skills will be in demand. The Ministry of Human Resources has announced it is working on identifying the required jobs and skills to utilize 1 million employees to work remotely or online. This will be the trend at least for the coming few years and will not only be locally but also internationally, where there will be a utilization effect of the activities to transform most activity to be online. This also supports the digital transformation and digitalization of activities sought by Vision 2030.

What has the COVID-19 crisis taught you about your industry and managing a crisis?

It has been a hard lesson, though fortunately we are all learning from the situation. The major issue is identifying not only financial assets to utilize in this situation, but also utilizing them to help companies sustain their businesses and open new opportunities. In addition, we intend to be at the forefront and not only follow up on developments. We hope our predictions for the coming five years will be manifested and will help us in a solid market position in the future.