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Globalisation and the emergence of knowledge-based economies have focused attention on Higher Education (HE) as a driver for economic growth and development.  Over the last decade, the HE landscape in the region changed significantly with diversification in available programs, technical and professional degrees, and delivery modes. Similarly, most countries in the region witnessed a shift from emphasis on public institutions to rapid growth in private institutions, foreign universities with local campuses, and partnerships between local and foreign universities.  Despite these achievements, there are increasing concerns voiced by employers of university graduates regarding insufficient competency in soft skills including foreign language proficiency.

This session considers the changing landscape of HE by discussing three questions. Firstly, which skills should educators focus on? In responding, I will explore the interaction between education and labour market needs and share a seminal research, carried out, on the benefits of English language as a socio-economic driver. Secondly, how can HE incorporate these skills? In answering, I will explore the value of developing a relevant policy and share a case study. Thirdly, whose responsibility is it to ensure having a well-rounded graduate? In responding, I will address the role of various stakeholders.