Dubai: Now, more students take up tech courses; here's why

3-day education exhibition opens in the emirate, ready to offer guidance to parents and their children who are preparing for university

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Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Wed 26 Apr 2023, 6:18 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Apr 2023, 6:28 PM

As the world hurtles towards a digital-savvy tomorrow, more youngsters are opting for technology-related courses. That is according to educational experts at the Global Education and Training Exhibition (Getex) that kicked off in Dubai on Wednesday.

“Especially with the UAE following a futuristic path, more students are opting for courses like computer science, computer engineering and anything related to technology,” said Doa Qutaifan, Student Recruitment Officer at the American University of Sharjah (AUS).

According to Doa, the field of visual arts is also highly in demand. “With all services going online, we need the graphics for it,” she said. “So visual communication and multimedia design are also among the most popular courses.”

Other experts agreed with this. “With His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai) wanting to make Dubai a hub for tech and innovation, we are seeing a lot of students opting for subjects like technology, computer science and engineering,” said Brendan Vyner, director of business development and student recruitment at Amity University Dubai. “So more students are coming in and saying that they want to do a STEM degree and work in the technology field.”

On Wednesday Sheikh Nahyan nin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, inaugurated the 35th edition of Getex, which will see almost 150 top-ranking educational institutions come together for a three-day event that will offer guidance to hundreds of parents and students.

At the University of West London as well, technology-related courses were the most popular. “Cybersecurity is one of our most sought-after courses,” said Mohammed Suhail, student recruitment coordinator. “Opportunities in that field have increased a lot. Similarly, students are also opting for computer science because it opens a lot of doors for them including AI, cybersecurity, app development and a lot of other tech-related fields.”

In-person learning

After the Covid-19 pandemic, more students and parents are opting for in-person education over distance or online learning.

“The biggest trend we are noticing is that students want to come back to campus,” said Brendan. “They want to work in the laboratories and be hands-on. They want to work with and interact with other students and teachers, especially with students enrolled in degrees like computer science, engineering, and fashion where practical learning plays a very high role.”

Other educational institutes said they had noticed a similar trend. “We were one of the first to get everything, including our open days, online,” said Doa. “It was a lifesaver during Covid. However, now, most parents prefer for their children to be in class on campus. The physical learning experience is extremely important and beneficial for students.”

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Top factors when picking universities

According to Lanita Noronha from Curtin University, students and parents look at different things when picking universities.

“For parents, one of the primary things they look at is the employability percentage. The ranking of a university, the teaching faculty, and the support a university can offer to help students land a job are important factors for them,” she said.

“When it comes to students, many are a little confused but some of the factors they look at are employability and student life. So, they look at extracurricular activities, additional skills they can accrue and, of course, what fun activities they can do when attending university.”

According to Brendan, the accreditations are a very important factor for prospective students. “A lot of students are not just looking for a degree that will help them land a job here,” he said. “They want a degree that will help them travel to other countries and settle there. So they want a degree that is future-proof.”

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