The movement of many Arab countries toward knowledge-based economic development requires the transition to more effective skills formation systems. This paper proposes an institutionalist approach to national skills development systems in the advancement toward knowledge-based economic development. There is currently no accepted general framework to analyze national skills development systems, and this has resulted in countries adopting reactive approaches to skills development problems. The conceptual framework advanced is an integrated, systemic view of national skills formation systems guided by government intervention in light of rampant failures of skills formation approaches that rely exclusively upon market mechanisms. The framework contributes to the skills formation literature by reviewing, synthesizing, and building on the literature from a multidisciplinary perspective. It considers the relevant institutions and interests of key stakeholders as highly interrelated in the context of knowledge-based economic development and achievement of accompanying economic, political, and social objectives in the Arab World.
Keywords: skills formation, knowledge economy, skills development policy, economic development, lifelong learning, Arab World