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Business and engineering students increase with UAE growth


August 15, 2013 2:11 by

New global research has revealed that the economic growth in the United Arab Emirates drives university students to opt for business and engineering degrees.

The research, conducted by HSBC, examined various factors such as the most popular courses, cost of education and other social and economic factors that influence higher education choices in eight key markets around the world.

The results of the study revealed that 84 per cent of UAE students study vocational courses – a number larger than university students in developed countries. The top ten major choices in universities in the UAE are business, engineering, medical and health sciences, law and IT.

In contrast, less than 60 per cent of university students in the UK, the USA and Canada opt for vocational courses. The larger majority of students prefer studying non-vocational courses in the humanities and social sciences.

Students tend to choose university programs based on the type and scale of the economy. Courses that lead to jobs that are in demand are the top choices among UAE students. Since expected investment in infrastructure and construction is estimated to reach more than AED$480 billion by 2016, students are seeking careers in the business and engineering sectors.

Additionally, the research highlights that although the cost of higher education in developed countries, such as Canada, is greater, students do not focus on careers that may offer them a “return on investment”. Instead, they are more attracted to courses such as medicine, nursing and social sciences that cater to their countries’ aging populations.

The HSBC research report also revealed that 34 per cent of parents believed that paying for their children’s education significantly impacts financial responsibilities and hinders their ability to save for retirement. Popular vocational courses in universities in the UAE, such as business, engineering and law are more expensive compared to non-vocational courses.

Rick Crossman, head of retail banking and wealth management, United Arab Emirates, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited, says: “In order to be adequately prepared to pay for this, people need to plan early and start saving for the cost of sending either themselves or a child to university.

“HSBC helps people plan for this phase of their lives by offering advice and products aimed at addressing customers’ most important priorities. Since education is one of the five most important wealth needs, we have focused our efforts on building our wealth management capabilities in order to help customers achieve their ambitions in this area.”

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