Stock University students campus
All options and step-by-step guidance for enrolling in the right course at a university of one’s choice in the UAE are just around the corner as the Gulf News EduFair starts on Thursday in Dubai. Photo for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt higher education and travel plans, UAE-based universities have emerged as the preferred destination for thousands of students in the country and from abroad.

To guide students and their families on all matters related to the September intake and beyond, Gulf News EduFair is this week bringing together leading universities in the UAE offering world-class accredited study programmes in higher education.

The free-to-attend Gulf News EduFair 2021 will be held from Thursday to Saturday at Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai, located on Sheikh Zayed Road. Visitors have to register in advance on the event’s dedicated website,

The UAE edge

Highlighting the UAE’s competitive edge as a leading education destination, especially in the pandemic, senior university representatives said the country’s safety, security and efficiency in limiting disruption to studies during the global health crisis has attracted strong interest from learners of all backgrounds.

Professor Amitabh Upadhya, President, GBS Dubai, said the extensive diversity of universities and qualifications available in the UAE has witnessed exponential growth, thereby attracting students from East Europe, South and East Asia, Middle East and Africa in particular, besides UAE-based learners.

“In the last couple of decades, the UAE has been encouraging global higher education institutions to establish their campuses and programmes in the country, making it a preferred education destination for students from all over the globe,” Prof Upadhya said.

Superb infrastructure

More recently, he added, UAE-based universities further innovated and adapted their offerings during the pandemic to ensure students’ education aspirations continue unabated. “The COVID-19 situation presented an opportunity in disguise whereby many forward looking institutions in the UAE upgraded their course delivery mode to online. This was found to be very successful mainly because the technical and internet facilities, and the motivated teachers and trainers of UAE, were very much up to this challenge.

“UAE is arguably the most tech-savvy country in the world, especially with regards to the student-teacher communities, making it the right choice to continue higher education in the UAE while avoiding any risky travel.”

Top safety record

Professor Manda Venkatramana, dean of the College of Medicine at Gulf Medical University (GMU), Ajman, said the UAE’s impressive vaccination rate – seven in 10 residents are fully vaccinated now – and close adherence to social distancing and wearing of masks, has not gone unnoticed by aspiring universities students and the wider global community. “The UAE has set very clear guidelines in the form of operations of educational establishments during the pandemic,” Prof Venkatramana said, adding that the universities’ safety track record is a major assurance for new admissions and continuing students.

Prof Venkatramana is also vice-chancellor of academics at GMU, as well as a clinical professor of surgery and a consultant surgeon.

Future-ready graduates

Speaking about the need for graduates to be “future-ready” for the careers of tomorrow in a rapidly transforming job market, the university representatives said close partnership with industry ensures students are fully equipped with the most in-demand skills.

Prof Venkatramana said: “The integration of academia and research with healthcare enables our students to be posted early and provides them prolonged clinical exposure. They are trained for lifelong learning and on ‘How to Learn’ to be practice-ready.”

At GBS Dubai, staying abreast of developments in technology is in large partly due to its ‘Cloud Computing & Cyber Security’ programme, which Prof Upadhya described as unique to Dubai. Also, he added, at GBS Dubai, unlike other higher education institutions, learners can choose to complete one or two years of their undergraduate programme with any of the “best 200 universities of the world” that are listed with its accreditation. GBS Dubai also, said Prof Upadhya, focuses on co-curricular and extra-curricular activities “inclusive of vital life-skills that help learners cope up with any future requirements and disruptions in their career”.

In-demand programmes

At Gulf News EduFair, university admission officers and faculty will be readily available to interact with students and their families to answer questions on everything they need to know about programmes on offer.

GMU will present, among other programmes, its Healthcare Management and Economics programme, which is a combination of Medical Science and Business Orientation. Another is Doctor of Pharmacy in which “professional skills labs” offer an opportunity for clinical simulations and role-play in preparing students for early exposure into the “real practice” environment.

GBS Dubai will be offering its Higher Diplomas (equivalent to Associate Degree) in Cloud Computing & Digital Technologies; Business Management & Sectorial Entrepreneurship; Construction Management; and Teachers’ Education & Training programmes.

Distinguished participants

The debut onsite edition of the landmark event will see active participation from leading higher education providers in the UAE: Gulf Medical University; GBS Dubai; Amity University Dubai; Middlesex University Dubai; Heriot Watt University Dubai; RIT Dubai; Westford University College; Manipal University Dubai; University of Birmingham Dubai; BITS Pilani Dubai; Canadian University Dubai; Curtin University Dubai; Cromwell UK Education; De Montfort University Dubai; University of Bolton, Ras Al Khaimah; London American City College; Scoreplus; and the British Council.

Strategic partners

This edition’s Platinum Sponsor is UAE University; Styling Partner is SHEIN; Career-ready Partner is Y-Axis; Counselling Partner is EdOrbis; Radio Partners are Fun Asia and Radio Asia; Supporting Partner is Bukhatir Education Advancement and Management International; Technology Partner is Dell; Sustainability Partner is WSBF; Gifts Partner is Mumuso; Dairy Partner is Nurtidor; and Supporting Partners are GotoUniversity and Brighter Prep.

Gulf News EduFair 2021

When: August 12 to 14 (Thursday to Saturday), 11am to 8pm

Where: Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai

Register at:

Agenda at a glance: Gulf News EduFair 2021


Panel discussion

Topic: The future of higher education: Why universities must innovate to succeed.

Top UAE educators will discuss how the pandemic is initiating a revolution in the higher education sector, encouraging universities to rethink effective student learning experiences.

Participating universities: BITS Pilani Dubai; Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Dubai; Middlesex University Dubai; GBS Dubai; Gulf Medical University


Topic: How to build your personal brand: Mastering Linked In and social media and making a mark

By Edorbis


Topic: Open doors to a world of opportunities with IELTS

By British Council, UAE


Panel discussion

Topic: Pandemic opportunities: Courses and degrees for the new world of work

Leading UAE education experts will talk about the programmes that universities in the UAE have or are launching this year to cater to the fields that will be in demand in the post-Covid workplace. They will also touch upon their collaborations with businesses, research associations and entrepreneurs to initiate cross-sector, future-focused research and learning, making curricula more impactful.

Participating universities: RIT Dubai; Heriot-Watt University Dubai; Amity University Dubai; Westford University College; De Montfort University (DMU) Dubai

Panel discussion

Topic: Charting your academic path: How schools can help you choose the right degree option

By Bukhatir Education Advancement and Management (BEAM)


Topic: Start your journey to globally-recognised higher education in the UAE

By Brighter Prep


Panel discussion

Topic: How to boost your career prospects while at university

Academia will reveal how universities are actively encouraging students to access their networks of peers, teachers and alumni, which can be invaluable when looking for a new job opportunity, ongoing mentorship, or support for their entrepreneurial ventures in the future. Learn how students can shape their career paths while they study.

Participating universities: University of Birmingham Dubai; University of Bolton RAK; Canadian University Dubai; Cromwell University; Curtin University Dubai

Panel discussion

Topic: Think unusual: Offbeat careers in fast-growing sectors


Applying to UAE universities: Role of standardised test scores for admissions and scholarships

By Score Plus