Dubai World Leader in Number of International University Campuses

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Education Investment Conference 2012 addresses local successes and regional potential

Higher education in the UAE has grown ten-fold over the last decade. The UAE currently hosts 37 international branch university campuses, the highest in the world. 21 of these are hosted by Dubai International Academic City, the world’s only free zone dedicated to higher education.

“The Middle East’s education landscape has witnessed significant advancement over the last decade, backed by an increased focus on developing a sustainable workforce that can contribute to a knowledge-based economy. Building on this priority, the region has attracted significant investments from across the world,” said Dr. Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director, TECOM Investments’ Education Cluster at Dubai Academic City and speaker at the Education Investment Conference 2012.

The conference highlights growth and partnership opportunities in the private education market in the region and takes place from 8-10 October 2012. It highlights the major growth opportunities for education operators, investors and financers in the Middle East and North Africa’s booming education market.

A report released this year by the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (OBHE) revealed that Dubai has the largest international hub of overseas campuses. Examining the success of this in the UAE, Dr. Kazim will provide strategic insight on the globalisation of higher education in his presentation titled ‘Establishing branch campus structures to capitalise on regional demand while securing brand growth’.

“What remains crucial for the establishment and growth of these branch campuses is a combination of government support, a solid regulatory framework and an in-depth understanding of market requirements. Not only does this favourably affect enrolment numbers but also enables institutions to assess and evaluate the needs of the various sectors of the economy and work towards bridging gaps where required,” added Kazim.

Kazim said the key to successful branch campuses in Dubai was a process beginning with an incubation phase where universities establish its presence abroad. “Universities could start small focusing on an area of expertise such as a particular programme. This ensures a measured growth plan and higher success rates.”

Ashwin Assomull, Partner, the Parthenon Group, and speaker at the event, who advises professionals in the education sector on market potential, growth and market entry strategies said: “The investment opportunity in the education sector in the MENA region is vast as stakeholders increasingly become aware of the potential in the region. There is a trend towards private education, ever greater amounts of students – both the secondary and tertiary levels – are choosing to enroll with international and mixed curriculum schools and foreign branded universities, showing a preference for education in English.”

The first two days of the event include presentations from various speakers including; Dino Varkey of GEMS Education, Edward Hobart –The British Consul General to Dubai, Dimitris Tsitsiragos of the IFC, Jens Yahya Zimmermann of New Silk Route Growth Capital, Fahim Muscatwalla of Abraaj Capital and Dr Ayoub Kazim of Dubai International Academic City. Education Investment MENA will also host a post conference workshop on October 10 with Greg Penoyre, senior partner at Penoyre & Prasad and Saad Abou Chakra, chairman of EDUGATES International.

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