More than 300 universities from 35 countries are expected to participate in the upcoming Gulf Education and Training Exhibition in Dubai (Getex). Of the 30,000 that are expected to attend from April 19 to 21, there will be prospective students and young adults looking for postgraduate opportunities, said Anselm Godinho, managing director of International Conferences and Exhibitions.
While the bulk of universities will come from the West and India, new exhibitors offering mainly postgraduate opportunities are from Malaysia, Turkey, Philippines, China and Russia.
"I think the universities from the Philippines will be popular considering the large population we have in the UAE. China and Russia will be attractive to Asian students because of the cheaper study options and cost of living," said Godinho.
"By gathering the best universities from all over the world, Getex serves as an important networking platform which promotes and supports the integration of best practices in the Middle East academic landscape," he said.
Another segment of Getex is the Global EdTech Forum, a teachers conference that aims to help educators reach out to students through effective communication and proper use of existing and new technology.
The forum also enables educators to share expertise, explore new technology and teaching aids, and boost their career growth potential through various training and skill-building workshops. Godinho said the conference benefits from the worldwide network of educators through the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), a membership based organisation headquartered in Washington.
Apart from a strong vocational education segment, which has become a focus of Getex, the exhibition has also introduced boarding schools to the mix. "This is the first time we've introduced boarding schools and they are from everywhere," he said.
Eight boarding schools from India, the UK and Canada will be exhibiting at the secondary school level, he said.
Godinho said Getex recognised the need for vocational education in the region despite it being regarded as inferior to university programmes. There are 25 to 30 vocational training providers exhibiting at Getex.
"We are working with most of the public sector and vocational training providers who are all rowing in the same direction to give this area more prominence.
"In the first world vocational education plays a huge role in the economy of the respective country and it is important for the country's future. There will be doctors and engineers, but there will also be the need for teaching and plumbing careers, which pay very well."
"Vocational education has been considered inferior and in Arabic it means ‘menial' work. We need to change that perception."
Godinho said it was mandatory for Emiratis and expatriates to see the potential of vocational education and also the country recognising tradesmen and their qualifications.
"We've got to recognise their skills. Right now it's cheap labour and that's sad. Yes, it [recognising tradesmen] will raise the cost of living because we have to pay them a decent wage, but ultimately it will benefit the economy."
Attend the exhibitionn When: April 19 to 21. 10am to 2pm and 5 to 9pm on April 19. 3 to 9pm on April 20 and 21. n Where: Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre