Officials from Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) participated in the NAFSA annual conference in San Diego, USA. The team, led by Dr Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of DIAC and Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV), both of which are members of TECOM Investments, presented at the world’s largest higher education event, further establishing Dubai’s position as a global education destination and supporting its vision for establishing a knowledge-based economy.
The NAFSA annual conference, which took place from 25 to 30 May, brought together more than 8,400 professionals in the field of international education for five packed days of training workshops, educational sessions, networking opportunities, and special events.
At the event, Dr. Ayoub Kazim gave a presentation titled “Globalisation of Higher Education and the Emergence of Education Hubs”. The presentation included a comparative analysis of key student mobility trends in light of the globalisation of the higher education sector. He highlighted that the sector has witnessed the emergence of transnational students, who are able and willing to travel in order to receive the best quality higher education, giving them the best chance of securing rewarding employment opportunities. Nearly five million international students are likely to be studying for degrees outside their own countries this year, a figure that is expected to grow. Since 2000, 2.1 million students left home to enroll in a foreign college or university. Today the number has increased by 140%, an average of 10% every year, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data.
Transnational students’ motivations in selecting a university were also discussed at the presentation, with influencing factors such as international recognition, study costs, employment prospects, and location, seen as being the most important. The Dubai model was used as a success story; with key competitive advantages including a cost of living lower than other countries such as the USA, UK, Australia and Canada, and being located in closer proximity to many home countries than other education destinations. Employment prospects are an especially important issue for students, who face the task of establishing a career in a jobs market that remains challenging in many countries.
Dr. Ayoub also highlighted the fact that the EXPO 2020 win is creating more job opportunities across various industry sectors. Oxford Economics estimates that Dubai winning the bid for EXPO 2020 will create more than 277,000 job opportunities in the UAE between years 2013 and 2021, with most of the new jobs being in the construction and tourism sectors. Another factor contributing to the forecasted growth in the UAE job market is the fact that one of the major strategies issued by the Dubai government is the goal of Dubai as capital of Islamic economy, which is currently valued at US$ 8 trillion, or 11% of the global gross domestic product.
Dr. Ayoub Kazim said: “With the rise of transnational education, students are willing to travel across the world for international higher education. Education hubs like DIAC, with many universities from different nationalities all in one location, make this choice easier for students and parents.”
The DIAC team emphasised the international education opportunities in Dubai, as it hosts a number of universities from multiple countries, saving students the effort of having to travel to the US or Europe to obtain an internationally recognized degree. In addition, while certain political conflicts and rising living costs made it difficult to obtain visas to certain countries, Dubai is a viable alternative to other high quality international education providers.
Another key objective of the team’s participation was identifying best practices in International Branch Campus (IBC) setup, using lessons learned from the UAE’s experience. They classified the use of extensive studies and market research, regional knowledge, and having robust business and academic plans as key steps towards setting up a successful IBC. The presentation also offered an overview about the major shifts towards emerging markets in transnational education and how to create a roadmap to ensuring success in launching an IBC.
Dr Ayoub Kazim added: “We will continue to work on further improving the UAE’s global ranking as an education hub, which is currently ranked as the fourth most attractive education destination in the world according to the Workforce Planning study conducted by Deloitte. ”
The NAFSA conference, which brought together policy makers and education experts from around the world, aimed to activate and reinforce the globalization of higher education This trip came as part of a series of international education events that included countries such as China, South Korea, Russia, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Turkey, and London, and will cover the GCC region as well.
For further details please contact:
Dina Samhout, Bell Pottinger: +971 55 5597394, [email protected]
Brendan Vyner, Brand Manager, TECOM Investments Education Cluster: +971 4 360 2960