Anna McNerney Kizirian
Educational Consultant
   普通话 عربي
Anna McNerney Kizirian
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News & Reports

Gulf News - May 6, 2010 Publication
AME Info- May 5, 2010 Publication
Anna's Contribution to the Discussion at
the First Ever Education Forum for Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) at the Jumierah Emirates Towers Hotel, Dubai

Visit to Top Branded Schools in China 2009
Visit to Top Branded Schools in the United Kingdom 2009
Visit to Top Branded Schools in the USA 2009
Emaar Education Press Release - April 2007
Friday Magazine - Sept 4-10, 1998
Gulf News - June 2002
Shindagha March 2001




Is Dubai an Educational Hub?


This is a fascinating subject and it is my pleasure to discuss it with you.


It is important, first of all, to define an educational hub. In fact, there is no clear definition for the term. But it is generally understood that an educational hub is where a good number of quality educational institutions exist providing a good number of inter-disciplinary subjects.


An educational hub could be local, regional or international.


With the phenomenal increase in the number of excellent government and private educational institutions in the past 10 years or so, Dubai has become an educational hub. 


The rapid economic growth of Dubai and the ensuing increase in both local and expatriate population created a demand for quality educational institutions which was met by ample investments by both the government and private businesses. Examples are many, but let us mention the examples of the American University of Dubai, Wollongong University, the Canadian University of Dubai, the Dubai Aviation College, the Dubai School of Government, etc. , not to mention campuses of existing national colleges such as Zayed university, the Higher Colleges of Technology etc.  Also, many international educational institutions have opened their own branches in Dubai. The recent decision to shift all private universities currently operating in the Dubai Knowledge Village to the purpose-built Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) will certainly enhance Dubai’s present hub position.


This growth was very beneficial first to the country’s students as it provided them with the opportunity to pursue their higher education in Dubai rather than traveling abroad for the purpose. It also was beneficial to Dubai’s economy as it saved scores of millions of Dirham’s from being spent abroad for higher education.


The general pleasant atmosphere of Dubai, its safety, its economic opportunities for the graduates, recreational facilities, availability of good accommodation and excellent communication facilities helped also to encourage students from the region’s countries to also seek higher education in Dubai. In addition to the expatriate students residing here who elected  to pursue their higher education in Dubai, many students from neighboring GCC and Middle East countries are also enrolled in universities in Dubai. Thus, Dubai is well on its way to become a regional educational hub.


According to a recent UNESCO report, there are about 3 million mobile students in tertiary education in the world. World Education Services (WES) report that the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia account for 40 percent of the destination of the mobile students.  Germany and France account for 8 percent each, Japan 4.2%, Singapore 3.2%, China 1.2% and Russia accounts for a smaller percentage.  It is important to note that the number of internationally mobile students increased by 53% in the past 10 years. Also important to note is the fact that the mobile students are opting mostly for English language education destinations, as English has clearly become the leading language of education and technology in the world.


We have mentioned earlier that Dubai has become an educational hub due to the major investments in higher education institutions in the past 10 ten years or so. We also mentioned that it is well on its way to become a regional hub due to the diversity of the educational institutions that it holds and the pleasant and safe atmosphere prevailing here.


So what does the future hold for Dubai as a leading educational hub?


Experts report that to be a successful educational hub whether local, regional or international, it is imperative that the location will not only have a large number of quality educational institutions with a vast array of disciplines but also it  should have affordable education, affordable accommodation, safety, pleasant atmosphere, good communication and recreational facilities and good prospects for employment as the total of these factors will affect students’ or their parents’ decision on where to continue their higher education.


Dubai has many of these factors available.  As time develops Dubai will need more diverse disciplines to add to the curricula that are on offer here.  For example, there is a big emphasis here on MBAs while educational facilities in liberal and performing arts, hospitality, public health, vocational training, etc. are limited. Also, few universities provide PhD level education and opportunities for research.  In addition, the educational and accommodation costs need to be competitive with other regional and international hubs. Many universities here do not have boarding facilities and private accommodation has been expensive here.  Accreditation by internationally recognized agencies is also important along with a vision for sustainability of the projects.  Established universities in Dubai should be having close ties with top institutions worldwide which will offer more depth and flexibility and keep Dubai abreast and hopefully ahead of its competitors.


Finally, Dubai should be on the lookout for competition from emerging regional educational hubs such as Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi where substantial investments are being made in education institutions. In addition, other countries in Asia, particularly Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong are vying to become regional and international educational hubs. The race is on.


Thank you.


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