Dubai: Officials, parents and students were all-praise for the holding of Gulf News EduFair as an on-the-ground event that would allow university authorities and representatives an opportunity to interact with families and students face-to-face.
Attending Day 1 of the three-day event that opened on Thursday, Dr Aman Puri, Consul-General of India in Dubai, said: “I’m really delighted to be at Gulf News EduFair today. It’s very important for students to understand the opportunities, especially in a post-COVID world where everything is changing and so is education.”
He added: “It is very important for students to understand the new opportunities, including online learning. What is also special about the UAE is that it is home to about 200 nationalities and events such as Gulf News EduFair offer a very important platform, where students come together and bring ideas. It is an opportunity for innovation and collaboration, which are vital in achieving sustainable goals.”
“An event like Gulf News EduFair gives an opportunity for universities to interact with families and students,” added Prof. Ayesha Salem Al Dhaheri, Associate Provost for Student Affairs at UAE University. Al Dhaheri further said: “This (face-to-face) type of event will help students decide on what university they will select and give them an impression that returning to on-campus study would be easy.”
“Nowadays, most universities focus on distance learning. It’s right and a good shift for students, given the pandemic. However, going back to the campus will provide students more practical skills that are required by most companies,” she added.
Parents and students, meanwhile, praised Gulf News for organising the EduFair. “It is well-organised and very informative,” commented Akhtar Hasam, adding: “It is always nice to talk to people personally and we were able to get more information, unlike online or virtual events.” His 17-year old daughter, Zoya Akhtar, added that attending an on-the-ground event helped her decide which university to select.
‘Face-to-face is always better’
A Grade 12 student in Dubai, Grace Christina Kottla, 17, said: “I’m happy to talk to school officials, and they gave me good advice in person.”
Another student, Ummehani Bandukwala, 17, said it was always better to attend face-to-face rather than virtual events. “Coming here (EduFair) removed some of my doubts as I was able to ask more questions and get more specific insights into university life.”
Her mother, Zohra Bandukwala, added: “We’re very happy to meet people in person — the interaction certainly helped and now we have the best options for my daughter.”