Underlying trends in higher education across the MENA region point towards a strong focus on employment prospects. Employers are increasingly relying on the higher education sector to equip students with the skills required to enter the job market and carve out professional niches for themselves. The infographic summarizing these insights can be viewed here.
Education and Skills Mismatch: Bridging the Gap in the MENA Region
Higher education is highly valued in the MENA region today and plays an even more important role in society than ever before. However, research has increasingly shown that nearly 71% of employers in the MENA region are concerned that the education system in their country fails to provide students with the right technical skills required to operate within the workforce.
Students are also beginning to feel the pressure. 1 in 2 students in the UAE are currently pursuing a field in either business or engineering, yet 32% of students believe they are not truly equipped with the skills and training required for their chosen career. Similarly, in Saudi Arabia nearly half of all local students reported these concerns.
These figures may reflect areas where the teaching approach can be improved to prepare students. The last decades have witnessed an increased concern in higher education over accountability, quality and productivity, and a struggle to meet increasingly complex challenges
Population Growth, Better Services Make UAE a Top Education Destination
The UAE’s private education sector is among the fastest growing in the world. Population growth and easy access to services has made the UAE one of the top education destinations in the Middle East.
Interestingly, there are 57 higher education institutes in Dubai with approximately 52,586 students according to recent findings. The number of Emirati students attending universities has also increased by 10.1% since 2014.
The UAE’s ratio of inbound students (82%) and outbound (18%) Emirati students illustrate the relatively lower annual cost of studying in the UAE ($27,375) vis-à-vis that of developed economies such as USA ($36,564) or UK ($35,045).
In the UAE, for example, Dubai’s hosting of EXPO 2020 is expected to create over 300,000 additional jobs across sectors such as hospitality, transportation, retail, banking, finance, real estate and infrastructure.
While 60% of the offerings of higher education providers are in business, engineering and health sciences, several UAE universities have already announced additions to their course offerings as a direct consequence, and others will increase places in existing courses to meet this demand.
Such a response is particularly anticipated given the rapid expansion of the higher education sector in the region, which has recently seen the appearance of new domestic institutions as well as branch campuses of overseas institutions.
The Higher Education MENA Conference taking place from 19 – 22 October, 2015 will see higher education institutions, regulators, investors, education management consultants and accreditation agencies convening to explore how the region’s institutions can harness innovative technologies, strategies and management models to ensure world-class excellence in teaching, research and development. Network with industry leaders and gain valuable insights on opportunities and resources that will help leverage your organisation for success. Download the brochure or visit www.highereducationmena.com to learn more.