Second-gen expat students prefer varsities in UAE
Students at the Emirates Aviation University booth during the Gulf Education and Training Exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Centre on Wednesday. - Photo by Dhes Handumon
Dubai - Getex 2016, the student enrollment platform, opens in Dubai
An increasing number of second-generation expatriate students in Dubai say they prefer to complete their higher education in the UAE because they consider it 'home' and "it is a much easier transit point to anywhere else in the world".
"I can travel to anywhere else in the world from Dubai," said 17-year-old Rahul Bisht, a student of Buds Private School.
Bisht was among hundreds of school students who thronged the stands of the UAE and foreign universities at this year's edition of the Gulf Education and Training Exhi-bition (Getex).
The exhibition is one of the leading student recruitment platforms in the Middle East and Asia.
Under the patronage of the UAE's Ministry of Education, the exhibition opened to the public on Wednesday in Dubai. Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development inaugurated the exhibition.Students said multi-cultural classrooms, safe environment, high global ratings, and better job opportunities are the primary reasons most UAE graduates prefer the schools here as compared to foreign universities. However, cost of education is much higher in the UAE, as compared to India, which is a popular higher education destination for Indian expatriates.
"I think it is a good investment. We want to give our kids the best and my daughter Ann has grown up here in Dubai and is comfortable living and studying here," said Shinsi Thomas, an Indian parent.Ann Junita Thomas (18), a stu-dent of Indian High School said: "I want to study and work here. There are so many nationalities liv-ing here in the Dubai. The opportu-nity to become a global citizen is very good in Dubai."
Rakesh Gaur, Director of Marketing and Admissions at Skyline University in Dubai said 80 per cent of their intake is students who graduated from UAE schools and only 20 per cent are international students.
"The UAE has become a hub for higher education in Dubai."
However, an overwhelmingly high number of students still want to pursue a career in business. Second most popular subject is engi-neering, shortly followed by media studies. Dan Adkins, Academic Director of Murdoch University said: "It is true that business education is over represented in the UAE."
Adkins said it is a cultural problem since most parents believe that there are better career opportunities in business, medicine, and engi-neering, as compared to arts. Students like Aakash Shambwani (16) and Farooq Ibrahim (17), both Grade 12 students, would like to pursue business education. "Especially with the Expo 2020, I am sure there will be lot of jobs for everyone."
What's new at Getex?
Aside from the usual focus of academic programmes, the ongoing edition of Getex sheds light on occupational and applied education, professional development and training. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Shaikh Al Nahyan stressed that the success of the exhibition has become a source of pride for the UAE and is considered an important achievement.
"Over the past few years, Ge-tex has proven itself as a strong impetus for national efforts aimed at investing in the potential of human capital through the opening of new prospects for the students to know about the latest academic, educational and training programs that will keep them at pace with the demands and requirements of the labor market in the 21st century," he said.
Anselm Godinho, Managing Director, International Conferences and Exhibitions (ICandE), the or-ganisers of Getex, said: "Over the next two days, we anticipate a high turnout of visitors who are eager to pursue higher education, which will also benefits the education providers who can convert enqui-ries into enrolments through on-the-spot applications."