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Calling all students
Abu Dhabi plans to develop edu- tourism in the emirate. Considering how profitable the industry could be if strategies are implemented correctly, it could work well here.
March 17, 2009 1:23 by Aarti Nagraj
Another country that has managed to make use of edu-tourism is Australia. The country’s government has created the Australian Education International (AEI), a special body that develops policies and provides advice on education, and also promotes the country’s educational capacities to the world.
According to the AEI, international education is now Australia’s biggest services export, and it contributed $14.2 billion in 2007-08, up 23.4 percent from the previous year. Since the 10 years to 2007-08, education exports grew at an average annual rate of 16 percent, compared with an average annual rate of 7 percent across all services exports.
In 2008, 435,263 international students studied in Australia, an increase of 17.6 percent over 2007.
According to the AEI, apart from the financial input to the economy, international education also contributes to Australian diplomatic efforts, as alumni have helped to raise the profile of the country when they return home.
It also says that the education tourism helps Australia keep pace with other countries, learning from international developments and building intellectual and research capital.
AEI’s International Student Survey found that overseas students choose Australia because it provides quality education, is an English speaking country, is perceived as safe and secure, offers students the opportunity to experience a new culture/lifestyle, has relatively low course fee costs and cost of living and has a temperate climate.
All the above conditions could easily translate into something that Abu Dhabi and even the UAE could offer. By developing quality, accredited higher education courses, it could attract students from around the world. And with the country already housing more expatriates than locals, it could also sell the idea of living in a multi-cultural atmosphere to students.
What do you think? Will the UAE be able to promote educational tourism?
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