Dubai: The Gulf News Edufair, UAE’s largest gathering of the education community, got off to a flying start in Dubai on Friday.
The education fair - which brought 50 educators and institutions under one platform – saw parents and students come together to discuss opportunities future opportunities in higher education.
The Gulf News Edufair, being held at the Ritz Carlton, Dubai, is expected to see more than 8,000 visitors over the three-day event.
The event was inaugurated by Abdul Hamid Ahmad, CEO & EIC & Executive Director Publications, Gulf News, Dr. Eesa Bastaki, President of the University of Dubai, Sherif Mousa, Acting Chief Transformation Officer, Zayed University and Anshuman R. Joshi, Director - Sales & Publishing, Gulf News.
The Gulf News CEO said: “Year on year, the GN Edufair reaches new milestones with an increasing number of exhibitors, products and services being shown under one roof. In this year’s GN Edufair, parents and students who are looking for colleges and educational institutions in the UAE or abroad will find a wide range of institutions which offer education in all fields. They will also find many institutions that offer services and guidance not only for selection of schools which matches their needs but also help them in establishing their new academic and college life, be it for information, registration, accommodation or visa arrangements.
"What makes GN Edufair an institution in higher education is that parents and students find what they want in a very simple way through direct contacts with representatives from these educational establishments. It’s a three-day event which gives the community a unique opportunity to know more about different universities for students who are about to graduate from their schools. We at Gulf News are proud of this event which we think can help students when it comes to selection of universities.”
Dr Bastaki said the Gulf News Edufair is one of the best platforms that enables educators to showcase their degrees and courses for students.
“Artificial Intelligence, cybersecurity are some key areas that educators are promoting as an educational programme.”
Messages for educators
“Use technology for students to love to learn. Make students love to learn. Learning should be interesting for students. They should enjoy learning and educators must look at this seriously.”
“Secondly, any education institution - if it doesn’t use case studies from real life scenarios – it will be difficult to make students enjoy learning,” he added.
Message for parents
“Parents must be advisors to their children, and support them in their choice of educational programmes. They would do well by educating their children on trending careers. They can share their thoughts on what courses could help their children for a certain career path. But parents must not push their children to pursue a career path they think is good.”
Message for students
Dr. Bastaki said students should use AI to learn. If I use AI to write something – like an essay – it is not right. But if I use it to learn and understand a concept, then I am for it completely. Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT is a learning phase for students, parents, educators all alike. The earning should be fun.”
Dr. Bastaki said a bachelor’s degree in AI, communications engineering, cyber security, data sciences helps prepare students for changing times.
Mousa said education is transforming. “Transformation is key in education or any other field. The world has changed from our time to now. The generations to come will also need to learn in a new way. What we are doing in Zayed University is teaching students to learn on how to learn. This is our underlying message to our students - to be problem solvers and meet the challenges of the changing times.”
He said, “We are building and developing a unique value proposition into our curriculum. Practical experience is the key. So what we are doing now is engaging our students with industry professionals from semester one.”
Clint Khan, Director of Y AXIS, spoke on why students from the UAE travel to the UK and Canada for their university education. “The UK has introduced the post-study work visa. Canada also has a very welcoming attitude towards students working post-completion of their undergraduate studies.”
Khan added Y AXIS gets hundreds of enquiries from students wanting to migrate to international countries for their university education.
The first day of the Gulf News Edufair saw panel discussions to discuss Aritfical Intelligence and how to make learning accessible for students.
One key discussion was on the impact of generative AI on students and educators.
Dr. Ekaterina Kochmar, Assistant Professor, Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, said: “About 59 per cent of teachers agree that ChatGPT will have legitimate educational uses that they cannot ignore. Sixty eight per cent of students think generative AI can help them become better students, and 75 per cent think it will help them learn faster.”
Another hot topic for the day was the importance of Maths as a life skill. Universities also came together to address the skill gap. Career options for students in the Web3 industry and Metaverse were also discussed.
David George, Commercial Publishing Gulf News, said: “Education is not just the responsibility of our schools and universities. It is a collective responsibility that we all share, and one that requires collaboration and partnership. That is why we are so delighted to see such a diverse and impressive group of sponsors and exhibitors here today at Gulf News Edufair 2023.”
At a glance
What: Gulf News Edufair
Where: Ritz Carlton Dubai
When: March 17, 18, 19 from 11 am until 7 pm (Free)
The registration process for this free-to-attend event is available online at https://gnedufair.com/