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School design must keep up with changing times, design expert speaking at GESS Dubai says.

Murray Hudson, co-author of the book Planning Learning Spaces, delivered a talk on reimagining schools on the second day of GESS Dubai. He has brought together educationalists and innovative school architects to pool their collective expertise and inspire the design of more intelligent learning spaces

“Schools have changed very little in the last hundred years. We need to have a new design aesthetic and philosophy for the digital age, taking into consideration the vital elements of space design such as the right lighting, heating and acoustics as well as appropriate furniture, fixtures and fittings.

With technology changing the learning environment, schools need to rethink their learning spaces, ergonomics, comfort, collaboration and accessibility.  Institutions need to invest in flexible and adaptable furniture to meet the requirements of educators and students. “Space planning is paramount today as one space can be used for a multitude of purposes.  Purchasing the ‘right’ furniture solutions to meet the evolving educational requirements can have a huge impact on school budgets,” said Cathy Di Savino of Intermetal, a long-time exhibitor at GESS Dubai.

Hudson’s call for design changes in schools could not have come at a more appropriate time. A recent report published by Colliers International predicts there will be a high demand for mid-market schools and it will continue to grow in the next few years.

The report predicts steady year-on-year growth of three per cent for the next 10 years for the school-going population in Dubai. There will be 370,000 private schools enrolment by 2030 compared to 290,000 in 2018, it added. Four new private schools opened for the 2019-20 academic year with around 4,000 seats.

Along with this growth, projection is the expected rise in procurement of school supplies, equipment, furnishings as well as technologies and solutions.

“As the education sectors move forward, the demand for technological innovation will increase. This includes robotics, large venue projectors for auditoriums/theatres, interactive display solutions (projectors) for classrooms and wi-fi enabled printers for ease of use, just to name a few,” said Abdulnassir Ali, Regional Sales Manager for Visual Instruments & Professional Display at Epson, one of close to 600 companies now exhibiting at GESS Dubai, the biggest such gathering of edtech firms at a single event.

The culminating day of GESS Dubai continues with insight-laden sessions on school leaders can build great teams to create outstanding schools, generate creative ideas and foster innovation among teachers and students.

Redefining Space through Education will explore the latest trends in the foreseeable future of the UAE space sector. The session will be led by Krypto Labs, a global virtual incubator has taken significant strides in developing the UAE space economy in collaboration with the UAE Space Strategy such as bringing entrepreneurs to reshape NewSpace and strategically incubating startups focused in Space Sciences such as Labox Learning Solutions.

“Re-imagining learning spaces is a major international trend happening in schools around the world. We’ve brought experts to shed light on this interesting development which we hope, once adopted in schools here, will lead to better teaching and learning experiences,” said Sarah Palmer, Marketing and Conference Director, Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS), which in addition to Dubai, has editions in Indonesia and Turkey as well as summits in Africa.

GESS Dubai is free-to-attend for education professionals and is organised in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Education and supported by the Ministry of Education Bahrain, Ministry of Education Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Arab Bureau of Education for Gulf States (ABEGS), British Schools in the Middle East (BSME) and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). For registration information and details conference agenda, visit