Source: The Islamic Globe | Issue 28 | August 24, 2011.
Source: Islamic Finance News | Volume8. Issue33 | August 24, 2011.
Daud Vicary Abdullah
I am writing this article during the month of Ramadan, so when you read it you may already have celebrated Eid. I do hope that all of you will have had a chance to pause and reflect, as indeed, I have been able to do, during this special period.
As many of you are aware, I have taken a small career diversion and am now more focused on the education side of the industry. I do hope, however, that I will not lose sight of my industry roots and will strive hard to maintain close connectivity with my former colleagues in the industry. Also, many of you will recall my thoughts on EPL (education, perception and liquidity) over the last year or so, and it is on the area of education that I should like to reflect a little further.
There is no doubt in my mind that education helps to shape and improve perception and that education takes various shapes and forms at various levels of competence. At an Islamic finance industry level, it is important that education — or should I be calling it human capital development? — addresses service needs at four distinct levels:
1. Pre-service education: where basic foundations are built.
2. In-service training: where in-house and private training providers develop specialized needs.
3. Research and development: where research capabilities are built and dedicated research takes place to support the industry up to doctoral level.
4. In-service and pre-service education: where Islamic finance professionals are developed.
In an environment of increasing globalization and associated growth in Islamic finance, it is extremely important that our human capital development programs, across the board, are developed to a high level of quality and relevance to the industry. The industry itself needs to set standards of competence for professional development through an industry association that is intent on building a global reach and ensuring well recognized standards. Educational establishments and training providers need to be independently accredited to ensure that they meet the standards required by the industry’s professional body. This structure and set of processes would not be significantly different from that which other industry professional organizations, such as accounting and engineering, have established over the last one hundred years or so.
My sense is that the time is NOW to start building the global standards and to have a clear focus on developing human capital in the Islamic finance industry. Failure to do so will only allow overlapping and duplicating initiatives to cause confusion in the industry and disperse our scarce resources. However, if we do this successfully, then a strong competitive edge will emerge based on a clear and focused strategy that embraces a global view.
Food for thought and reflection indeed!
As usual, there is much to do and not a moment to lose.