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UAE taps transnational education market

Transnational education is becoming a game changer as young students leave their home countries to study abroad to acquire more new
experiences and skills. They travel abroad in order to pursue higher education degrees, not bound by geographical borders. These students gain precious international exposure, and real-life international business
experience. They become cosmopolitan citizens and could be outsourced
anywhere for jobs after their graduation.
This phenomenon has drawn attention of many countries to compete for
international placements and woo the students through many attractive study programmes that fit their tastes.
Indeed, there has been a noticeable shift towards emerging markets, away from the traditional higher education locations like the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and Canada. This has been made easier as transnational students are now able to attend an international university without travelling to the university’s home campus.
States that seek huge enrollment of students must attract and retain students by providing fresh and innovative approach, affordable housing, a lower cost of living, as well as ensuring ease of visa issuance. Providing infrastructure and entertainment that support these higher education hubs are also important in generating interest of transnational students.
The UAE, which is experiencing huge progress in many areas, has in recent years taken interest in education in general and transnational students in particular.
The UAE ranked 42 in 2012 Knowledge Economy Index (KEI) with 6.94 points — the highest among the GCC countries — with a score of 6.5 in the
Economic Incentive and Institutional Regime, 6.6 in Innovation and Technological Adoption, 5.8 in Education and Training, and 8.88 in ICT Infrastructure. It has performed remarkably well in the ICT pillar and its education pillar has
improved over the last decade.
Of late, Dubai entered the transnational student market. It is among the fastest-growing in the world, expanding by 15 per cent in the last few years, with revenues reaching $148 million (Dh544.3 million), according to research from the Parthenon Group.
Abu Dhabi has also opened branches of international universities such as Sorbonne, New York and others which are rapidly wooing transnational students.
For the UAE, a good guide is the seven national priorities of the country’s National Innovation Strategy: Renewable energy, transportation, education, health, technology, water and space. Large-scale events such as Dubai Expo 2020 will require thousands of educated people from a wide range of industries such as tourism and hospitality, construction, transport and logistics.
Promoting higher education in the UAE would definitely require collaborative effort between the business community and the government. The government remains as a regulator and the private sector invests. This does not mean underrating the role of public higher education. But the two could cooperate to achieve tangible results.
Transnational students will represent the benchmark for innovation — global students who travel around the world and from a young age are already experienced in international business. The future of education starts here.
In the UAE, the proportion of students in private higher education institutions jumped from 23 percent to 60 percent in 2011 alone. Of course, this number has been growing rapidly since then.
Apart from business side, the transnational students could bring world
peoples closer through shared practical experiences. It is therefore important that the UAE education sector continues to tap into this pool and involves it in the economic growth of the country.

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