Dubai: In a move to expand its business activities and offer educational expertise globally, Tecom Investment's Education Cluster has recently been in talks with Maltese education companies. They have also recently visited China to foster partnerships with education companies there.

Maltese education companies visited Dubai last week to network with Dubai-based education institutions and to discuss issues of business opportunities.

The benefit to prospective students and the public is a more diverse range of course offerings available in both countries due to the sharing of expertise, student exchange and the co-marketing of programmes.

Students from the Mediterranean benefit from education expertise in Dubai and vice versa for GCC-based students.

Tecom Investments, to which Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV) and Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) belong, has already set up a knowledge-based hub called Smart City Malta, which is modelled on the DKV and DIAC education clusters.

"Smart City Malta has done a good job of creating a platform intended to serve educators, academic and educational institutions to look at business opportunities as well as forging sustainable partnerships with organisations in the overseas markets," said Dr Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of Tecom Investment's Education Cluster.

Jin Won Choi, executive director of Strategy and Business Development at Smart City Malta, said there are three core areas where partnerships would be made: The co-marketing of programmes, development of new courses and the exchange of students.

With co-marketing programmes, Smart City Malta, DKV and DIAC could market programmes that the others lack.

Malta would be able to penetrate those regions Dubai has not had good access to and vice versa.

Choi said in Dubai there are many institutions offering courses in brand management and psychometric tests for managers but this is not easily found in Malta.

Dubai could not only offer programmes in Malta but also get a foothold in countries like Cyprus, Italy, Libya and Tunisia.

‘Service side of technology'

"On the other side, Malta is strong in the service side of technology and the online gaming industry and education companies can offer such courses in Dubai," said Choi.

He described Malta as the Dubai or Singapore of the Mediterranean.

The fact that it is an English-speaking country means that it can attract students from Russia, the rest of eastern Europe and Nordic countries in addition to North Africa and surrounding countries.

When developing new courses, both education clusters can offer office space for programmes that the other has expertise in.

The clusters would import lecturers to expand course offerings.

Students based in Dubai for example would not need to do their internships in the GCC — they would be able to find opportunities in the European regions.

At last week's event, Choi said 15 Maltese education companies were interested in doing business in Dubai while 40 Dubai companies had expressed interest.

"We have built a strong presence in the Middle East region and we have realised that by entering strategic locations around the globe, we can strengthen our partnerships."

More networking sessions are being planned in January.