More UAE students choosing vocational degrees

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A new study has revealed that a university education in the UAE is among the most expensive of all the Emerging economies.

United Arab Emirates University (UAEU)
United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) – Al Ain, UAE. Image courtesy: UAEU

The report by HSBC shows that the cost of studying in UAE equals about 51 percent of GDP per person and an average annual expense of USD 27,375 is incurred in obtaining a university education. As the education costs in UAE have soared in recent years, it is no wonder that the students carefully choose their study options before making such a heavy investment. Further, there has been a sharp increase in university enrollment due to a rise in family disposable income and greater interest among women to pursue tertiary education.

About 84 percent of the students in the UAE prefer to choose a vocational degree. In the developed economies of the UK, U.S. and Canada, this figure stands at 60 percent. Although law, business and engineering degrees are among the most expensive degrees, they remain a popular choice for UAE students. Compared to other non-vocational courses, these degrees offer the best return on investment.

The choice of students is largely determined by the economic activity in UAE as the degrees are expected to equip with them the right set of skills to gain career advancement and financial security. On the other hand, students in developed countries with aging populations are more likely to choose a degree in medicine or nursing.

Countries in the MENA region are pumping billions of dollars into education systems to improve standards and build a knowledge-based economy. The plans are in line with the direction to diversify income sources away from hydrocarbon exports to achieve sustainable economic growth and create greater job opportunities over the long-term.

Recently, the Kuwaiti government has announced its plans to spend more than USD 1 billion over a period of five years to improve educational facilities in the country. The education sector throughout MENA is attracting a lot of interest from private sector as private companies make acquisitions to create large education groups within the region.

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