Students from Greenfield Community School interact with the representative of Institute of Management Technology Dubai, at their stand, during GETEX at Zabeel hall, Dubai World Trade Center and Exhibition halls, Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: Universities in the UAE exhibiting at the Gulf Education and Training Exhibition (Getex) in Dubai are looking to attract more international students, with some offering scholarships and attractive student accommodation.

Participating in international education fairs and hiring student recruitment agents are some of the ways universities in the country are getting the word out about their offerings.

“We have students from around 106 countries, and a lot of these students, once they go home, take the good name of AUD [the American University in Dubai] with them. The message of the quality of the education at AUD is passed everywhere,” said Carolyne Macharia, admissions and recruitment assistant at AUD.

According to Cedwyn Fernandes, associate professor economics director at Middlesex University in Dubai, attracting international students is becoming increasingly important, since the growing supply of universities in the country is outpacing local demand.

“The growth in the education sector in the UAE will come from attracting more international students because there are so many universities in the UAE and there is limited demand locally,” he said.

There are over 57 universities in Dubai alone, he said.

International students account for around 18 per cent of the total number of students at Middlesex University Dubai. The university hopes to increase this to 30 per cent in the next two years, Fernandes said.

“Dubai as an education destination is getting prominence in the world. It’s the fourth most recognised destination, after the US, UK, Singapore and Australia,” he said.

To get more international students to register, the Canadian University Dubai is offering them scholarships, said Mahmoud Al Batta, admissions officer at the university.

“We have three types of scholarships: an academic scholarship based on students’ high school grades; financial scholarship based on their financial status and a sports scholarship,” he said.

Some international students choose to study in Dubai because they are attracted to the city’s offerings.

“Everyone hears about Dubai and how nice it is so they want to experience that. They come and finish their education in Dubai,” Al Batta said.

Meanwhile, Middlesex University Dubai has “ doubled [its] efforts in international marketing” and “provided outstanding residential facilities” to attract international students, Fernandes said.