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Most training providers in Dubai are merely focused on selling third-party content, says education expert.

Summary: Education and training content providers should be linked to assessment framework.

An expert in professional education has said that out of more than 1,000 training providers in Dubai, most are small players focused on selling third-party training content, either via e-learning platforms or direct to businesses.

Mark Andrews, MENA Regional Director, Edexcel, said: "The rapid growth of the economy and the national propensity to import skilled labour has created huge opportunities in the UAE for education and training providers; however, the lack of sufficient professional players is slowing down the growth of the industry.

"Andrews added: "Seizing the opportunity to tap into a lucrative and ever-growing market, these organisations are filling the void left by an underdeveloped national education infrastructure.

The dynamic nature of higher education also makes the UAE an attractive investment opportunity for companies and institutions.

"Edexcel, the leading UK based awarding body, and part of Pearson, one of the world's largest providers of education services offers academic and professional qualifications and testing to thousands of schools, colleges, employers and other places of learning globally, and has over 4 million learners enrolled in its highly regarded courses in more than 85 countries.

According to Andrews, there are problems at both ends of the education spectrum.

The lower end of the market is filled with small providers that claim to deliver effective and successful programmes but often fail to deliver.

At the upper end of the scale, the quality of teaching varies greatly.

The general opinion is that the quality of teachers and trainers is very low.

Without effective and inspirational teachers schooled in modern techniques, the value of any educational content is severely diminished.

Andrews said the willingness of business to fund skills development is clear, though this may be down to necessity rather than will.

The key challenge is for governments to develop clearer strategies to support long-term education objectives.

Andrews underlined the need to link education and training content providers to an assessment framework, and to develop clearer guidelines around accreditation.

Without addressing quality assurance, businesses and educational institutions will waste money on ill-conceived or badly delivered education, and the skills gaps will continue to widen.

"There should be better training for in-house trainers and more emphasis on the development and recruitment of great teachers.

This will lead to a better use of the skills, experience and personality of senior figures within any organisation," said Andrews.

Edexcel potentially sees a huge opportunity to create a new educational concept in the UAE, as the country has the resources, business environment and, increasingly, the infrastructure.

Moreover, the UAE has a relatively small population, which means progress could be made quickly if the right vision is defined and supported.

Crucially, any new vision must be based on mutual engagement between business and education.

"The UAE government demonstrates strong commitment and vision to improving professional education.

On the other hand, businesses will continue to work in isolation if public education programmes remain disconnected from the realities of industry," said Andrews.

2010 Al Bawaba (www.



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Date:Oct 21, 2010
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