Dubai (UAE) – Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) held its sixth bi-annual Education Forum to debate the emerging international student recruitment trends in the region yesterday (30th April).
Key education professionals from government, academic institutions and industry gathered to discuss the latest findings of DIAC’s Workforce Planning Study that pegged the UAE as the fourth most attractive education destination in the world, and the most attractive education destination among emerging market economies – beating the likes of China, Singapore and Australia.
The study also revealed that:
Commenting at the forum, Dr Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of TECOM Education Cluster – DIAC and DKV said: “The results from the study help our academic partners adopt a more streamlined approach towards developing their internationalisation strategies. The study supports our student recruitment initiatives as it allows universities to align their programmes and courses to industry demands, and extend their reach to attract more students.”
The event’s panellists were: Richard Barrett, Head of Deloitte’s Education and Skills consulting practice; Professor Ammar Kaka, Vice Principal and Head of Dubai Campus, Heriot Watt University; Professor Nick VanderWalt, Global Corporate Relations Director, Hult International Business School; and Peter Hawke, Director of Marketing Student Recruitment, University of Wollongong.
Professor Nick VanderWalt, Global Corporate Relations Director, Hult International Business School said: “The programmes that are being offered should be aligned to the opportunities and economic needs of the future. Universities need to work more closely with the employers of tomorrow to build their education curriculum so that graduates have a better chance to secure employment opportunities and achieve a return on their investment.”
Peter Hawke from University of Wollongong Dubai and Professor Ammar Kaka from Heriot Watt Dubai Campus agreed, “Building links with industry is vital for both the higher education and vocational training sector. We need to focus on adopting a collaborative practice model to strengthen relationships with the industry.”
Hawke added, “In the UAE, parents are seen as the major decision makers when it comes to choosing a university course for their children. We need to get more involved with the parents and help them understand the higher education setting and employment considerations.”
Moderated by Richard Dean, presenter, Dubai Eye, the panel discussion covered the factors that influence students’ decision regarding higher education, the key to a successful student recruitment strategy and comparative trends in student enrolment.
Richard Barrett, Head of Deloitte’s Education and Skills consulting practice, said: “As employers continue to compete for the best talent, early engagement with the stars of tomorrow is important in building and retaining a competitive workforce. The clear message is: universities that are able to offer student placements alongside recognised high quality teaching with mainstream programmes will stay ahead in student recruitment.”
Currently, DIAC is home to 21 of the UAE’s 37 International Branch Campuses from 11 countries, offering more than 400 degree programmes to over 20,000 students of 125 nationalities. Quality education, easy access to visas, close proximity to key international locations, cosmopolitan demographic and opportunities arising from the economic growth has served to make Dubai a viable alternative for the students. What puts Dubai and by proxy, DIAC, at the top of their list is the relatively low cost of living when compared on a global scale and an extremely safe environment.