The Education System and the Study Abroad Market in the UAE


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The Middle East continues to see dramatic growth in education capacity, driven especially by booming population growth and burgeoning demand for tertiary education by women.

ICEF Monitor explores the disconnect between this enrolment boom, the science and technology focus of regional governments, and the prospects for women to engage in scientific fields after graduation.

See the presentation for market overviews of the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and read the related ICEF Monitor article "Continuing expansion for education in the Middle East" here:

For more industry news, market intelligence, research and commentary for international student recruitment please visit, subscribe for free daily or weekly updates, and follow us on Twitter

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The Education System and the Study Abroad Market in the UAE

  1. 1. ICEF- Dubai 2013 UAE Education Prospect
  2. 2. UAE General Information  Official Name: UnitedArab Emirates Capital: Abu Dhabi GovernmentType: Monarchy Population: 8.3 million Area: 83600 square Languages:Arabic  Ethnic Groups: Indians, Pakistani,Western,Arabs. Emirati are 16% of the total population
  3. 3. The Education System of UAE  Local schools follow the Arabic curriculum  International schools follow a variety of curriculums like IB, UK,American, Indian, Pakistani etc (Dubai’s private education sector spans 148 schools offering 13 different curricula to more than 210,000 students. Since 2007, schools have recorded consistent growth in enrolment, with a 7.4% increase in the last academic year)  This excerpt is from the KHDA inspection report  In total, there are more than a 2000 schools (public and private in the UAE)
  4. 4. The Education System of UAE (Deficiencies)  Students finish schools lacking appropriate English language  High school is 12 years of education for certain universities students will need a foundation year  Thus students lose a minimum of 2 years before joining a university
  5. 5. The Size of the Market in the UAE  “Of late, the education sector is receiving serious attention from the government.As part of a new strategy, the UAE Ministry of Education has got a new organizational structure that aims to strengthen the role of the ministry and enhance their work in the field of academic studies. In the budget for the fiscal year 2010, the education sector was given top priority – about 22.5 per cent of the total budget of Dh43.6 billion has been allocated to the education sector,” said Mr Ahmed MohammedAl Midfa  The report said the total number of students in the region is expected to grow from 9.5 million in 2010 to 11.3 million in 2020 at a compounded annual growth rate of 1.8 per cent. ( students-to-boost-demand-for-higher-education/)
  6. 6. The Size of the Market in Dubai  Dubai:The number of students enrolled in higher education institutions in Dubai increased 10 per cent last year, a Knowledge and Human DevelopmentAuthority (KHDA) report revealed yesterday.  The total number of students enrolled in the emirate's tertiary education sector was put at 43,212 in the report titledThe Higher Education Landscape in Dubai 2011.This compares to a total of 39,127 students in the previous year.
  7. 7. The Competition (the local universities, the branches of international campuses) 1. Higher Colleges ofTechnology – 15 Branches for boys and girls 2. Abu Dhabi University 3. ALHOSN University 4. Khalifa University - Abu Dhabi/Sharjah branches 5. Masdar Institute of Science andTechnology 6. NewYork University Abu Dhabi 7. United Arab Emirates University 8. Zayed University - Abu Dhabi/Dubai branches 9. The Petroleum Institute - Abu Dhabi branch 10. INSEAD - Abu Dhabi 11. Alain University of Science and technology 12. NewYork Film Academy
  8. 8. The Competition (the local universities, the branches of international campuses) 13 . American University in Dubai 14. Al Ghurair University 15. Canadian University Of Dubai 16. Cass Business School 17. Dubai Medical College for Girls 18. Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University 19. Heriot-Watt University Dubai 20. Higher Colleges ofTechnology - Dubai branch 21. London Business School 22. Rochester Institute ofTechnology - Dubai branch 23. Manipal University - Dubai branch 24. University of Dubai 25. University ofWollongong in Dubai 26. American University in the Emirates
  9. 9. The Competition (the local universities, the branches of international campuses) 27. Centre for Executive Education, Dubai KnowledgeVillage 28. Jumeirah University 29. American University of Sharjah 30. American University ofAsia 31. Skyline College Sharjah 32. University of Sharjah 33. Etisalat University College 34. IslamicVirtual University Sharjah planned 35. University Hospital Sharjah 36. Ajman University of Science andTechnology 37. Gulf Medical College, now Gulf Medical University 38. BITS, Pilani - Dubai 39. Cambridge College International 40. Canada International College 41. French Fashion University ESMOD Dubai
  10. 10. The Competition (the local universities, the branches of international campuses) 42. Hult International Business School 43. Imam Malik College 44. Institute of ManagementTechnology, Dubai 45. IslamicAzad University (IAU) 46. JSS Education 47. Manchester Business School 48. Michigan State University Dubai 49. Middlesex University Dubai 50. Murdoch University Dubai 51. S P Jain Center of Management 52. SAE Institute Dubai 53. Saint-Petersburg State University of Engineering & Economics 54. Shaheed ZulfikarAli Bhutto Institute of Science andTechnology, Dubai (SZABIST) 55. The British University in Dubai (BUiD) 56. Université Saint Joseph Law School – Dubai 57. University of Bradford 58. University of Exeter
  11. 11. 59. American University of Ras Al Khaimah 60. Ittihad University 61. RAK Medical & Health Sciences University - College of Dental Sciences 62. Emirates MCC University 63. International Academy RAK 64. Middle East University RAK 65. Pune University RAK 66. Sikkim Manipal University RAK 67. University of Bolton RAK 68. University of Seychelles AIM 69. UNLV Dubai RAK planned US 70. Vinayaka Missions University RAK 71. Higher Colleges ofTechnology - Fujairah branch 72. Fujairah College The Competition (the local universities, the branches of international campuses)
  12. 12. 73. Abu Dhabi University AlAin 74. Ajman University Fujairah 75. AlAin University of Science andTechnology 76. City University CollegeAjman 77. Emirati Canadian University UmmAl Quwain 78. International Academy Ajman 79. Preston University Ajman 80. UAEU College of Business and Economics 81. University College of Mother and Family Sciences 82. LondonAmerican City College 83. Jazerah University 84. Amity university Dubai Campus 85. Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management 86. Emirates Aviation College (many sources, some of them is The Competition (the local universities, the branches of international campuses)
  13. 13. Scholarship providers A small list  MOHE  ADIA  ADEC  ATIC Mubadala  ADCED  IDAAD  Presidential offices  Courts  Municipalities  Police  Army  Ministry of Health  Rulers offices  Amideast  Ministry of foreign affairs
  14. 14. Accreditation of International Universities (a small list) Local accreditation  CAA  KHDA (see next slide) International accreditation  AACSB  ABET  AMBA  EQUIS
  15. 15. KHDA Accreditation Free zone campuses stand to benefit  The Higher Education Landscape in Dubai 2011 report shows that the majority of students in Dubai — 59 per cent — attend institutions outside the purpose-built free zones; although the free zones account for 60 per cent of Dubai's 52 institutions.  However Dr Abdullah Al Karam, Director General of KHDA, believes the number of students at free zone institutions will surpass those at non-free zone institutions within the next three years. He believes this will be due to the new Dubai government legislation, Resolution 21, which now grants KHDA authority to certify academic degrees from private institutions in the free zones.This means, qualifications obtained by students at Dubai's free zone institutions will now be recognized by employers in both the private and public sectors. Source (
  16. 16. Adult Education (corporate)  Online and distance education is not approved. Only 30% of total curriculum can be by distance  Many organisations provide qualifications for working adults who represent 65% of the population  Quality is not maintained so the working adults always face difficulties.
  17. 17. Setting up in the UAE  Visa and labour law challenges  Accreditation challenges (local, federal)  Setting up campuses without proper market research, or regional knowledge. Starting fast and with a bang rather than starting slow, with the niche programme and having a period for incubation,  Universalities that started did not have a strong home campus support nor did they measure the growth  Out of 30 universities that started in Dubai academic city, 3 failed, which represents 10%.  There is a need for vocational education  Specialised higher education providers  Professional and executive education  Academic partner expansion  Focus on quality vs quantity  R&D centres and other supporting facilities.
  18. 18. Agents in the UAE There are many of them Agents must be approved by MOHESR  Admission Universities & Institutes Entrance Scvs  Ahlam Al Mustaqbal Universities Services  Bustan Consultancy &Training Center  Israa for University Services  Tumooh Education Consultation  Amba Management Consultancy  Australian Agency for Education &Training  CARAS  Center for Management InformationTechnology  Education First (EF)  Education Service Provider  Education Zone  Emirates Center for University Services  German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)  Global Educational Consultants  Golden Link for University Services  IDP Education Australia  Inner Universe  Innovation Consultancy & University Education Services  InnovationWorld Consultants  International Center for Management & Studies  International Group for educational Services (IGEC)  International Placewell Consultant  Education Consultant  Krisco Education Services  MU Consultants  Qadri International Educational Consultancy  Regent Education Consultants  Sigma for Consulting andTraining  UniAdmission FZ LLC
  19. 19. Education Exhibitions in the UAE  Najah (Abu Dhabi and AlAin)  GETEX (Dubai)  International education expo (Sharjah)  American fair  British Council fair  Road shows run by agents  School and university fairs  MBA tour (QS)
  20. 20. Which Programmes are Interesting for Emirati Students?  Business  Engineering  Medicine  Journalism  Graphic design/Interior Design/Architecture  Law  Very few undertake humanities and arts.
  21. 21. Trends & Tendencies of Emirati Students that Study abroad  Going abroad is a tradition, our dads did it, we did it, and our generations to come will do it  However the ministry has to approve the university  The Ministry of Higher Education provided lists of the recommended higher education institutions abroad. These institutions are evaluated according to a number of criteria for the recognition of higher education institutions abroad , which was developed by the Commission of Certificates Equivalency.  Students wishing to complete their higher education first obtaining the approval of the ministry before the enrollment through online request of the program study
  22. 22. KSA  For its importance I am providing some information about its size and opportunities
  23. 23. KSA General Information on Saudi Arabia  Official Name: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Capital: Riyadh (Current local time) GovernmentType: Monarchy Population: 27.6 million Area: 784,233 square miles, slightly more than one-fifth the size of the continental United States Languages:Arabic Literacy:Total: 79%; Male 85%, Female 71%  ( riesandterritories/saudiarabia/index.html)
  24. 24. KSA spending  In line with the government’s push to get more nationals into work, education and training again takes the lion’s share of the non-oil-related budget for this year, with 25% of total spending.  Just over $54bn will be spent on the sector in 2012, a 21% rise on last year.Around $1bn of that sum will be spent on 539 new schools, in addition to 1,900 schools currently under construction. More than 750 schools were completed last year.Another $6bn will be spent on scholarships for Saudis studying abroad
  25. 25. Students Data (based on our records)
  26. 26. Nationality of Students EGYPT 1% INDIA 2% IRAN 2% IRAQ 3% OMAN 9% JORDAN 1% PAKISTIAN 1% PALESTINE 1% QATAR 11% BAHRAIN 1% SRI LANKA 0% SAUDIARABIA 45% CANADA 1% UAE 22%
  27. 27. Type of Student Funding Scholarship 66% Private 34%
  28. 28. Country of Study Australia 1% Canada 11% Hungary 1% Italy 0% New Zealand 26% UAE 1% UK 8% USA 52%
  29. 29. Specialisation-Programs of Interest IT& COMPUTER SCIENCE 2% English course 16% ESL (Pathway) 33%BUSINESS & ECONOMICS 11% SCIENCE/HEALTH SCIENCE 9% ARTS 2% ENGINEERING 27% SCHOOL-YEAR 12 0%
  30. 30. Level of Study 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 DIPLOMA BACHELORS MASTERS FOUNDATION English Certificate/Course
  31. 31. Students Age Group 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 18-23 24-28 29-33 34-38 39-43 44-49 No.ofstudents
  32. 32. Student Demographics-Gender FEMALE 17% MALE 83%