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Dubai: International higher education institutions in Dubai reported an eight per cent annual growth in the number of students enrolled, according to new data revealed today by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

New figures released by the KHDA showed that the total number of students currently enrolled in university programmes exceeds 30,000. Additionally, the number of international students choosing Dubai to complete their higher education increased by 12 per cent, now comprising nearly a third of all students.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director-General of KHDA, said: “Dubai continues to strengthen its emergences as a leading destination for international higher education. The rise in the number of international campuses opening in Dubai and the diversity of programmes available is attracting more international students to study in the city. This progress speaks to the quality of education offered by universities and their commitment to building a truly world-class higher education sector. We look forward to working with university leaders to further advance Dubai’s position as a regional and international higher education hub.”

The landscape infographic issued by the KHDA features comprehensive data on Dubai’s higher education sector, including details on international higher education providers, students, programmes, faculty and fields of research.

Landing jobs

For the first time, available data on graduates showed that more than 80 per cent of students who graduated from a higher education institution in Dubai in the last two academic years were in employment or undertaking further study.

The number of programmes offered by international universities increased by 21 per cent in the last three academic years, with degrees in business, engineering and information technology proving the most popular among international students and Emiratis. Business, media studies and information technology featured in the top three programmes among students of determination.

Data from the current academic year also showed that 60 per cent of students are enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree, with 30 per cent studying for a Master’s, and two per cent for a doctorate. Nearly 80 per cent of all students are enrolled on a full-time basis.

Why Dubai?

Dubai is rapidly climbing up on the list of preferred study destinations of international students, said Daniel Adkins, Group CEO – Transnational Academic Group – Education Management Service Provider for Curtin University Dubai.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, international student enrolments have not only returned to prior levels but has been growing rapidly. When considering international study destinations, the US, UK, Canada, and Australia have always been popular, but over the past decade, Dubai has emerged as a contender,” he added.

“Dubai offers a wide variety of universities at all rankings and price points, from ‘Top 100’ universities to those who hold no international rank but are still very good universities. With nearly 100 options, parents can be confident about sending their children to any of these universities due to the exceptional academic quality assurance from the UAE and Dubai governments.

“Dubai is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world and the UAE is the only country with federal ministers for both Happiness and Tolerance. Dubai is also within an eight-hour flight of over 70 per cent of the world’s population and as a logistics hub, has nearly any product desired readily available.”

Adkins said: “As an international business hub, finding post-university employment in Dubai is quite easy. Most importantly for parents, the UAE is consistently ranked as either the first or second safest place to live in the world.”

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Uptick in intake

Brendan Vyner, director of Business Development and Student Recruitment at Amity University Dubai, said: “With the international markets now open, we have received increased student growth from markets such as India, Africa and the GCC countries. It is clear that these students coming to Dubai are looking for world-class campuses with state-of-the-art facilities, which will help augment their theoretical knowledge with practical experience.”

He added: “In addition to this, the competitive pricing of Dubai, when benchmarked against leading education cities in countries such as the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, has positioned Dubai to be the perfect venue for international students to study abroad. The convenient location of Dubai, combined with ease of issuance of student visas and leading safety standards, has made our university a popular destination for international students looking to travel abroad for higher education.”

Key figures 

• 30,032 students enrolled in international universities in Dubai

• 8 per cent increase in student enrolment

• 12 per cent increase in international students

• 21 per cent increase in number of programmes offered since 2018/19