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Dubai Emerging as Global Higher Education Hub

Global transnational education (TNE) students are increasingly seeing Dubai as a global higher education hub akin to the USA, UK, Australia and Canada, said Dr. Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV) and Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), part of TECOM Investments’ Education Cluster, at a prestigious education conference in the UAE this week.

Speaking at the International Private School Education Forum (IPSEF) hosted at DKV, Dr. Ayoub said that Dubai’s emergence as a global study destination was due to an expected increase in employment opportunities resulting from Expo 2020, safety and cultural concerns, a strategic geographical position, ease of acquiring visas and the global recognition of qualifications.

“Since 2009, there has been up to a five-fold increase in TNEs considering the UAE as a study destination, which TECOM’s Education Cluster has directly impacted through a ten-fold increase in its student body to over 20,000 students since 2003, offering over 400 academic programmes,” said Dr. Ayoub, Managing Director of DKV and DIAC, in his presentation Borderless Education and Student Mobility on September 24th, 2014.

“The Cluster will continue to drive the competitiveness of the UAE’s education industry by truly understanding its needs, and those of its international student population.”

Whilst the UAE has risen as a preferred study destination by TNEs since 2009, the UK, USA, Australia and Canada have all faced a 6-8% drop in popularity, added Dr. Ayoub, quoting the QS Trends in International Student Mobility report.

IPSEF, the only international conference for private and international schools, took place on 23rd-25th September, and hosted private sector school owners and educators, government, investors and educations service providers under the theme of Delivering Best Practice in the Middle East.

Rhona Greenhill, Co-Founder IPSEF said: “The TNE market in Dubai is growing rapidly, with many prominent international higher education institutions already setting up branches in the Emirate, and many more keenly looking at this market for future growth. Dubai has certainly laid the foundations for a strong proposition for foreign higher education institutions to come here and thrive.”

The UAE’s educational landscape is being shaped by a number of major macroeconomic factors that will affect demand for skilled graduates in the country, said Dr. Ayoub.

These include promoting Dubai as the capital of the global Islamic economy, which is valued at US$8 trillion globally, in addition to Dubai Expo 2020 where over 277,000 job opportunities are expected to emerge by 2021, and the general hospitality market in the UAE, which is forecast to grow at an average rate of 8.1% over the next four years, according to real estate firm JLL.

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index recently ranked the UAE sixth under its higher education and training pillar (within the efficiency enhancers sub index), jumping 29 places from the previous year.

“The WEF’s high ranking of the UAE is a testament to the strength and quality of academic and training providers in the region, of which TECOM Investments’ Education Cluster has 25 academic partners from 10 countries as well as 500 training providers, consultancy firms and HRM centres serving the region,” said Dr. Ayoub.

On December 10th 2014, TECOM Investments’ Education Cluster will host the Industry and University Partnerships “I-UP” Forum, at DKV, which will bring together professionals from universities, industry and government departments to discuss potential collaborations, partnerships, research and business development opportunities.

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