Education agents have welcomed news of Saudi Arabia's first-ever cultural scholarship program, which will provide scholarships to students who want to study culture and arts courses at international institutions.
Scholarships are key in increasing the numbers of mobile students from the Gulf region said educators and providers at the Gulf Conferences scholarship programme meeting this week in London. Stakeholders project huge growth in the region’s education sector.
Demographics, increased purchasing power and consenting government regulation have created a blooming market for private education providers and investors in the MENA region. However, a report carried out by Informa shows a mismatch in goals among operators and capital investors.
Private education in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is a booming market that will be worth $11.2 billion and service 300,000 students in 2015, due to the promise of long-term revenue from a sector where the demand outweighs supply, payment plans that allow tuition fees to be submitted in advance and government that can provide strong support.
We want to start looking at delivering English language plus soft skills. And we’re also looking at India, we’ll be the first organised company that will actually market Indian universities overseas, to send students from the MENA region to study in India.
British universities and pathway providers say they are seeing a rise in interest from Middle Eastern students as countries in the region try to up-skill young people and increase employment. According to UCAS, there was an 11.4% increase in undergraduate applications from the Middle East in 2012-2013. However, some say competition in the market is rising.
The first ever search portal for higher education in the Middle East and North Africa has been launched in Dubai and is set for international expansion. ‘Uni and I’ lists regional universities along with key information, and already features 675 institutions.