Rising opportunities in education sector beckon private sector
- United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, February 26 - 2013 at 14:35
- PRESS RELEASE
The private sector needs to invest more to keep pace with increasing demand for higher education in the region, according to industry stakeholders who took part in the just-concluded International Education Show at Expo Centre Sharjah.
Others present at the opening ceremony included H.E. Humaid Al Qutami, Minister of Education Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General, Expo Centre Sharjah, among other government dignitaries and guests.
The International Education Show is a joint initiative of the UAE Ministry of Education and Expo Centre Sharjah and supported by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).
"The private sector needs to better tap into the growing need for quality education and commitment by regional governments to create infrastructure and promote innovation in the sphere of higher education. The governments have already initiated various policies and regulations to attract higher private sector participation and this is throwing up a number of investment opportunities within this sector," said Mr. Saif Mohammed Al Midfa, Director-General, Expo Centre Sharjah.
The growing demand for higher education — on the back of rising population, coupled with growing number of expatriates — was clearly visible during the International Education Show, which attracted 15,450 visitors during its three-day run, compared to last year's 14,200, a 9% increase. The surge in interest was so high that on day 1 of the show, 26% more visitors thronged the show.
Improved standards of living in the GCC countries due to increasing urbanization and rise in income levels have also influenced the attitude of people towards education, leading to improvement in gross enrolment ratios across primary and secondary levels in the member countries, according to a recent market study.
The number of tertiary students, the main driver of higher education, is expected to grow at a highest CAGR of 5.5% in the GCC and will eclipse the projected rise in overall number of students of 1.8%, which will reach 11.3 million by 2020. The share of tertiary education students to the overall number of pupils is expected to rise from 11% in 2010 to 15% in 2020, it said.
"The private sector participation in the education sector is pretty low now. Better private sector participation will help in facilitating a major transition in the quality of services provided and in global competitiveness, thus offering better choices and opportunities to a rising number of national and expatriate students," added Mr. Midfa.
Mr. Midfa also pointed out, "The move by Expo Centre Sharjah to better target the Indian population in the country also paid rich dividends. In order to expand the reach of the International Education Show, Expo Centre Sharjah tied up with AFAIRS Exhibitions & Media of India to bring the Great India Education Fair to the UAE."
The fair also offered spot counselling by experts, introduction to career options, a series of seminars on 'Studying in India' and further information on Indian institutions and educational procedures.
"We also roped in Gulf Madhyamam, the leading Malayalam language daily in the GCC, to promote the added focus on India and the surge in number of visitors recorded point to the fact that our move has been successful," added Mr. Midfa.
In association with Gulf Madhyamam, Expo Centre also hosted a special one-hour training session for secondary and higher secondary students and parents, which was part of a successful series of seminars held as part of the International Education Show. The session titled 'Destination Success' was addressed by corporate trainer Mr. Sangeeth Ibrahim.
Together, the International Education Show and the Great India Education Fair featured 165 exhibitors, covering universities, colleges, polytechnics, IT institutes, business schools, technical management training centres, medical schools, hotel management institutes, fine art schools, language centres, aviation colleges, distance-learning institutes, and other tertiary institutions.
They offered scores of programmes, ranging from traditional fields like medicine, engineering and management, to new-age education programmes, special hobby classes and language skills training, among others.
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