COVID-19 Set to Digitise and Disrupt the Gulf’s US$67 billion Education Sector

COVID-19 Set to Digitise and Disrupt the Gulf’s US$67 billion Education Sector

QNA Marcom to Host Virtual ‘EdX Accelerate Education Summit and Awards 2020’ Featuring Leading Figures from UAE Institutions and Companies

Date: Dubai, UAE – December 17, 2020

News Highlights:

  1. GCC education sector is valued at US$67 billion (Dh246 billion);
  2. The total number of students in the GCC is projected to reach 14.5 million in 2022;
  3. The number of private schools in the GCC region is likely to reach 36,747 by 2022

COVID-19 has accelerated the digital disruption in US$67 billion (Dh246 billion) education sector of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, forcing teachers to take classes online, assign tasks online and conduct exams digitally, something that was a myth until recent years that has suddenly become the new normal.

These enforced changes in classroom environment, digital disruption and other trend-setting developments are going to be the highlights of the forthcoming EdX Accelerate Education Summit and Awards 2020 that will be held at 12:00 noon on Monday, December 21, 2020, where experts in education sector will decipher the trends and changes in the region’s education landscape. More than 500 delegates are expected to attend the digital summit through the link. Participation is free.

The GCC education sector has continued to remain a top priority for governments despite a slowdown in economic growth. In recent years, governments in the GCC region have undertaken a number of initiatives, most notably the introduction of favourable policies, which encourage private sector participation in the education sector.

The total number of students in the GCC is projected to reach 14.5 million in 2022, according to a recent report by Alpen Capital. This can be attributed to rising population base of school and college age students.

The demand for public and private schools in the GCC region is likely to increase at 1.9 percent annually from an estimated 33,456 schools in 2017 to 36,747 by 2022, reflecting an addition of more than 3,200 schools in five years.

The number of students in UAE is projected to reach 1.5 million by 2022. The education market in Dubai is dominated by the private sector. With 182 schools educating over 281,000 students for the 2017-2018 academic year, the private sector accounted for almost 90 percent of the K-12 students in Dubai. The private schools generated revenues of Dh7.5 billion (US$2.0 billion) in Dubai during the 2017-18 academic year.

However, COVID-19 pandemic has changed not only the classroom, educational behaviour, but the entire education system – which is to undergo a sea change, that will be examined at the EdX Accelerate Education Summit and Awards 2020.

Krishnan Gopi, Group Chief Disruption Officer at GEMS Education, will set the tone of the first EdX Accelerate Education Summit and Awards 2020 through his insightful speech and his experience on how he is leading the digitisation in the largest private education group in the Gulf. This will be followed by a keynote speech by Rich Henderson, Director, Global Education Solutions at Lenovo who will be talking about ‘EDU transformation and the need for Distance Learning’.

Organised by QNA Marcom, a marketing and communications agency with a range of global clients including top-tier technology vendors, distributors and solution providers, is set to host the year’s biggest education event on December 21, 2020.

The EdX Accelerate Education Summit and Awards 2020 will bring together prominent experts and figures from some of the biggest schools, universities, solutions providers, and more. The global event, with a strong focus on the UAE, will look at accelerating education’s transformation through technology and how digitisation can revolutionise the sector, specifically in the wake of Covid-19.

“Regional governments have played an important role in modernising the education system by developing smart learning programmes and aligning the education curricula with global teaching standards. The uptake and integration of technologies such as e-learning platforms or use of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), etc. has led to the adoption of more efficient methods of teaching and in turn delivering an enhanced quality of education,” said the Alpen Capital report.

Governments have undertaken several initiatives to support the integration of technology into the education system. For example, the UAE has initiated an Innovation Hub by Oracle in Dubai, allowing students to pitch ideas for developing technological changes.

Ankit Shukla, QNA Media Group Managing Director, says, “We’re pleased to be organising this major virtual happening. Educational institutions in the UAE, and around the world, have acknowledged the urgent need for a rapid and radical transformation towards a more digital model to safeguard the sector and its foundations.

“While suggestions and frameworks exist, they remain largely disconnected, nested in institutions with niche efforts with a requirement for communication and partnerships with relevant policy bodies. The pursuit of a concise, consistent strategy over what should be transformed, as well as how to achieve success and who should get involved are all factors which have given rise to the EdX Accelerate Education Summit and Awards 2020.”

Keynote speakers and panellists in attendance will include Jeffrey Smith, Director of School Partnerships at iCademy Middle East; Dr Catherine Hill, Dean of the School of Education at The American University in Dubai (AUD); Peter Davos, CEO and Founder of Hale Education; Dr Nadera Al Borno, Associate Professor of Education at The American University in Dubai, and Stafford Global CEO Refaat Kazoun.

Also speaking at the event from leading higher education giants are Majid Mneymneh, Vice President for Higher Education and Corporate at Pearson Middle East and Vandana Mahajan, Founder and CEO of Futures Abroad.

The event’s Platinum Sponsor is Lenovo, a multinational technology company with a presence in more than 160 countries, constantly reimagining technology to make the world more interesting and solve tough global challenges.

The summit and awards will enable participants from all walks of life to meet online and interact beyond borders, implementing plans of action based on research in their respective fields and discussing some of the most pressing issues in education and technology. Moreover, industry leaders will be recognised for their contributions throughout the years and their most innovative, disruptive ideas in 2020.

Several e-learning, mLearning and distance-learning programmes were in force in the UAE long before the emergence of Covid-19. From Madrasa, an e-earning platform offering 5000 videos in general science, math, biology, chemistry and physics for students from kindergarten to grade 12, to Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, the first Ministry of Education-accredited e-learning academic institution in the UAE, the country has been at the forefront of technological innovation.

Following the pandemic, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai launched specialised portals, Activity Platform and In This Together Dubai, to support remote learning. Almost overnight, the UAE successfully moved 1.2 million students online; the swift shift has underlined the importance of technology in education even further.

“There are numerous bright spots in the future for technological innovation in education, especially with the UAE’s increasing focus on EdTech, the Vision 2021 First-Rate education scheme and the government’s investment in ICT and education technology, which is expected to reach $2.72 billion in 2021. The UAE is an emerging hub for technology in education, with schools and universities rapidly adopting the latest in the field,” adds Shukla.

“The EdX Accelerate Education Summit and Awards will promote change, at a time where a new approach to education is of utmost importance.” 

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