Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the KHDA during his welcome address at the Education Investment MENA Conference in Dubai.
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 Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the KHDA during his welcome address at the Education Investment MENA Conference in Dubai.
Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of the KHDA during his welcome address at the Education Investment MENA Conference in Dubai.

Four day conference features stellar line up of education experts tackling capital efficiency, innovation, technology, special needs

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority has officially opened the Education Investment MENA conference in Dubai today with a welcome address to hundreds of delegates.

In partnership with HUMANSOFT, the four day conference this year identifies how to increase investment in education across the board, from premium K-12 schooling, through to Higher Education, Vocational, Special Educational Needs and Ed-Tech.

The opening panel discussion, ‘Positioning the Middle East as a global hub for educational capital,’ featured Dino Varkey, Group Executive Director and Board Member of GEMS Education, Victor Saad, Vice President and Board Member of SABIS®, and Svava Bjarnasson, Principal Education Specialist, International Finance Corporation.

Education Technology (Ed-Tech) is a major theme of the Education Investment MENA conference this year, which runs until 13 November at The Address Hotel Dubai Mall, as increasing numbers of investors see opportunities beyond the traditional premium K-12 space.

A series of free to attend Ed-Tech seminars featured today and continue on Wednesday 12 November for delegates to explore the latest innovations which can transform teaching methods. Topics include using gamification to deliver fun educational experiences, e-assessments to improve learning results, encouraging school administration to think digitally, and ensuring digital safety.

In an afternoon session today, Dr Ali Al Hakami, Founder and President of INMA Education in Saudi Arabia, joined Kaltoom Al Balooshi, Director of Institutional Development at the KHDA to discuss the diverse requirements of countries within the MENA region when providing education services.

Dr Al Hakami said: “Investors need to understand their local markets very well because every country has its own specific regulations and requirements. It is not enough to have great products and services; investors need to align their strategies and make their offering relevant to the country.

“At the same time, investors also need to be close to the customers and respond to their needs and concerns in a timely manner. Being flexible and ready to localise products with high quality and efficiency is very important too.

“Investing in Ed-Tech is becoming a priority in Saudi Arabia. Emphasis now is on internet connectivity, computers, tablets, educational media apps as well as lab equipment. A large amount of funding is now dedicating to Ed-Tech in the Kingdom.”

The second day of the conference will include a session from Alun Yorath, Principal at Brighton College Abu Dhabi who will discuss how to build a successful educational brand in the Middle East.

He said: “We will explore the key pitfalls at setup and how to ensure that the integrity of the educational brand is protected.   We will examine what makes your brand unique, how you can get this message across to potential parents, how you can ensure that you reach your target market for enrolment and that pupil and parent ‘buy in’ to your brand is successful over the initial opening phase.”

Education Investment MENA is held in partnership with HUMANSOFT and supported by Gold sponsors GEMS Education, SABIS® and Laureate International Universities, and Silver sponsors Ryan International Group of Institutions, Clyde & Co, Colliers International and IT School Innovation. For more information, visit www.education-investment.com.

– Education Investment MENA