The second edition of the Global Education and Training Exhibition (GETEX) Abu Dhabi was held over three days at the Rotana Beach Hotel and Towers recently.
Educational programmes from some of the world's leading academic institutions were highlighted.
The exhibition provided a complete networking forum for the education industry, bringing a diversity of academic courses and training options from over 127 exhibitors spanning 15 countries.
The exhibition is the largest education fair in the Middle East region. Organised by the International Conferences and Exhibitions (IC&E), GETEX is held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Education with the support of Dubai Knowledge Village and the British Council in Dubai.
The 2006 Abu Dhabi edition of the exhibition featured exhibitors that presented a variety of education solutions tailored to the needs of growing Middle East markets.
The aim according to an organiser is to collate academic institutions from the GCC and other favoured education destinations such as the UK, Canada, Australia, the European Union, New Zealand, Switzerland, India and Malaysia under one roof, allowing students in Abu Dhabi a one-stop platform to choose a course of study.
Ritu Handa, marketing and communications manager at IC&E, said they plan to make the exhibition a yearly event.
She said: "I think the biggest advantage in this year's exhibition is that universities are actually coming to the UAE and sourcing students from here and spending time in the UAE; they begin to realise what the market needs as far as courses are concerned."
Focus on the job market
Handa said that this year there has been a larger number of universities bringing courses that are focusing on the requirements of the UAE job market.
"I think that is especially in terms of Abu Dhabi; there is a larger number of UAE nationals in Abu Dhabi compared to Dubai which has a very large expat population. I think in that sense it's important because then you're linking up Emirati students with courses that would enable them to contribute to the economy later on," she added.
Handa believes the student community has become more aware of what to study, what majors to choose.
"Students can now see what would be good for them career-wise. You can also see improvement in the way they ask questions about a university. You can see them receiving the information and using it to find a university suitable for them," she said.
A lot of universities participating in the exhibition are from outside the UAE. Even foreign universities that have campuses in the country are bringing their representatives from abroad to participate in the exhibition along with their representatives in the UAE.
Italy was among the participants at the show, with its universities offering an array of multidisciplinary programmes in the field of business administration, international relations, IT, engineering, architecture fashion and design and Italian language courses.
This year's focus was on higher education courses in the fields of management, medicine, information technology and e-learning. Free academic and career counselling workshops were offered for students.
The event also highlighted new and innovative methods of studying including real time e-learning solutions.
The exhibition was a valuable opportunity for students who may have missed the autumn admissions intake to finalise study options for the spring intake at international universities.
Get the Student perspective
By Anureet Kaur
Choosing a career is not easy in this materialistic world. Students often get confused about what to choose and which university to go to. So there's a rescue centre for them — education exhibitions.
Why go to one?
Many parents become anxious when their children reach the age when they need to seriously think about their future. Children themselves are very confused and don't know what goal to set. So these exhibitions truly help them in choosing their career. It's for each student who wants to pursue further studies here or abroad.
Exhibitions provide a lot of brochures. These give a description about the universities. I believe exhibitions are better than university websites because there are professors who are ready to explain doubts and queries that students and parents have.
Even junior students think about their careers at a very young age. Amal Anwar Yousuf is a student of The Indian High School, Dubai, and is studying in grade 4.
She seemed excited about the education exhibitions and told me that they provide knowledge and help students decide their career.
She said such exhibitions should be encouraged so that an awareness of education is created.
The writer is a grade 11 student of Al Diyafah High School, Dubai
"These exhibitions are very helpful. They help career wise and we become more creative and think practically. Also we gain a lot of ideas from the prospectus provided."
— Carol D'Souza, grade 11, Al Diyafah High School, Dubai
"Exhibitions give a variety of options and help us decide on a career. I think there should be more exhibitions in the coming future. Also exhibitions should be kept in places that are accessible."
— Jasmine Pereria, grade 12, Al Diyafah High School, Dubai
"Exhibitions expand educational horizons. I think there should be more advertising for these exhibitions so that many students are aware of them."
— Fatima Nawasdeen, grade 12, Al Diyafah High School Dubai
"Exhibitions give a basic foundation and help students to take a decision as to which college they would like to join. I think there should be colleges that provide airline and airhostess courses. Also handing out pamphlets in various schools will attract students to come to these exhibitions!"
— Felzina Franzita Fernandes, grade 11, Al Diyafah High School Dubai
"Exhibitions are very helpful. We can easily get the information we want. I think grades are the main factor by which we can get into to a good, reputed university. Students who have got their marksheets should show them at the exhibition so they can get scholarships."
— Tina Sajnani, business and finance, Mahe Manipal, Dubai campus