Ellucian, a global and regional leader in providing innovative technology solutions for higher education institutions, opened the Ellucian Live Middle East 2014 conference in Dubai today. The annual conference, which runs until December 9, is taking place at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel Conference Center in Dubai, UAE.
Ellucian Live Middle East is one of the region’s largest education conferences, with more than 500 decision makers and policy influencers attending from across the region. The conference acts as a platform for education leaders in the region to discuss new ideas, challenges, best practices and plans for the future. The event attracts local and international guests, as well as influential speakers, including students from regional institutes.
Importance of education for economic development plans
The Middle East community has continued to put a stronger emphasis on education in recent years, making it an important focus of many future developmental plans – from the Qatar National Vision 2030 to the UAE National Innovation Strategy. Education is seen as the answer to many of the region’s workforce requirements and economic development aspirations.
In the lead up to the Dubai Expo 2020, education will play a critical role in shaping the workforce of the future and ensuring that the work skills required for the event are met using local talent. The students of today will be entering the workforce by the time Expo 2020 arrives and this requires higher education institutes to adopt progressive systems and develop the pathway from learning to employment. Many of these changes are being made with the adoption of technology.
“We are working with institutions to deliver solutions that can drive their visions for the future and enhance the learning experience for the students. Our extensive experience in the region allows us to support them in planning for the future,” says Mathew Boice, Vice President, Middle East & Africa, Ellucian.
John Kopcke, Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Ellucian, will speak at the conference about the importance of technology for educational institutes, how it can be implemented successfully and key trends including cloud infrastructures and the increasing use of mobile applications.
“The Middle East has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in the world and the students of this generation have grown up with these devices. There is demand from students in the region for mobile-friendly communication, which higher education institutes are proactively responding to,” reveals Boice. “By connecting with students on a platform they are familiar with, universities can engage with their community in a way that was previously not possible.
“To deliver world-class mobile services, there needs to be a reliable, effective cloud infrastructure in place. Cloud technology supports data sharing from anywhere, at any time, and allows for collaboration between institutions, students and staff,” he adds.
Cloud computing is being rapidly adopted by businesses across the region, with Gartner predicting that cloud services in the MENA region such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market will grow to $170 million in 2018, a dramatic increase from the $60 million in 2013. For education institutions, it allows a university to deploy software onto the network without interrupting the user experience, it increases efficiency and allows for a transparent view of the network with live updates and inbuilt security features.
Inspirational Arab Student Stories
Ellucian Live Middle East 2014 is a three-day conference which includes a packed agenda made up of keynote and breakout sessions on a selection of topics related to education, many of which are led by Ellucian clients. Two inspirational female Qatari students from the Community College of Qatar, Khulood Waleed Alhumaidi and Dana Salah AlHamad, will be addressing the attendees, and will discuss their personal education experiences and their aspirations as to what their education will bring in the future.
“We are honoured to have such bright young students as speakers at our event. They are strong supporters of the right to education, and their inspiring stories of achievement defy the stereotypes propagated against Arab women by international media,” says Boice.
Building a Connected Community
Other speakers include Prof. Eddie Obeng, educator, world-class motivational speaker, innovator, and author; Carol Pamela Pinto, Regional Higher education specialist; Jeff Ray, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ellucian, and John Kopcke, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Ellucian.
In addition, the event sponsors and exhibitors, Adirondack Solutions, Evisions, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, IBM®, ITS, MDSL, Naseej, Scientia® and TouchNet, will be providing their insights, opinions and perspectives on education within the Middle East.
“Education plays a pivotal role in the development of any nation, and has the ability to transform the future. We believe it is important to nurture the education community in the Middle East and are elated that we are able to connect industry leaders, decision makers and innovators at Ellucian Live Middle East 2014,” concludes Boice.
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