With more than Dh4.6 billion allocated in 2012 for the education sector in the UAE, the nation’s intent is clear — to build a strong intellectual database that will nurture its ambitions to be a dominant player on the world stage in all fields. Infrastructure complements financial backing with events such as Gulf Education and Training Exhibition (Getex), allowing students and teachers in the region and beyond to gauge the nation’s abilities in providing a dynamic learning ambience.
As the leading education, training and professional development event in the Middle East gets set to launch its spring chapter at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre today, an expected 30,000-strong visitor turnout will evaluate the merits of more than 500 institutions represented at Getex 2012. Over 2,500 academic, vocational and training programmes will be highlighted at the event, which runs until Saturday and is held under the patronage of Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and supported by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the Dubai Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City.
“With its extensive coverage and the invaluable educational tools and resources it offers, Getex strongly complements the intensified investments in education in the UAE as well as other countries in the Middle East,” says Anselm Godinho, Managing Director, International Conferences and Exhibitions (IC&E), the organisers of the event.
Getex has been successful in training the spotlight on industry trends and how they could be channelled to best meet the region’s needs. In this respect vocational education will be part of the education fair’s mainstream focus. Visitors at Getex this year will also benefit from a diverse selection of seminars and workshops held alongside the event (see box).
In line with the emphasis of the UAE government on business education and entrepreneurship in the region, Getex will also be introducing a new Business School cluster to provide students access to courses offered by prestigious academic institutions. “The emphasis at Getex this year will be on specialised streams in higher education such as the Business Schools cluster to help students make informed decisions when choosing courses that offer the best potential for professional growth,” says Godinho. Meeting demand Recent studies have shown that the steady growth of the regional economy will create up to 1.5 million new jobs by 2020.
This means the region will need to produce around 100,000 graduates each year. Statistics released by Euromonitor International also reveal that consumer expenditure on education in the UAE has increased from $1.83 million (Dh6.72 million) in 2005 to $3.4 million in 2010. Acknowleding this demand, Getex will be showcasing a broader selection of higher education programmes made available through the larger number of regional universities participating at the event.
The slow metamorphosis from student to professional is aided by experience. However, external forces such as special courses and programmes can act as catalysts. The Professional Development segment at Getex is to do just this, helping enhance career prospects for not just graduates but professionals as well. Programmes of interest include specialised courses in leadership development, coaching, project management, time management, HR best practices and social media and communication.
Workshop topics in the segment will include coaching and mentoring and strength-based leadership. A discussion will also be tabled on the positive impact of Emiratisation, involving leadership experts, regional HR professionals and CEOs from the private and public sector.
Seminars and conferences
Some interesting seminars and conferences run alongside Getex that should not be missed. Here are a couple:
The Global Edtech Forum
Getex 2012 will host a Teacher’s Conference integrating best practices in communication and teaching by equipping educators with the latest tools, skills and technology in education delivery. Held in collaboration with the US-based International Society for Teacher Education, the world’s largest membership organisation for educators, the Global Edtech Forum will also feature an Education Job Fair to provide visitors direct access to a large pool of teachers, faculty, school leaders and administrators from across the Middle East.
The Excellence Forums will provide students with resources and information to help them make correct career choices. Topics of discussion will include management, business and finance, medicine and health care and engineering.