Presidents of international universities finalize new Strategic Plan to expand open, distance education initiatives worldwide.

ICDE SCOP 2012 sets new record as the largest gathering of members of the International Council for Open and Distance Education
ICDE members commend H.H. Sheikh Mohammad’s Smart Learning initiative for higher education in the UAE
November 27, 2012
Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University (HBMeU) has announced that members of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) have completed drafting a new Strategic Plan (2013-2016) following several in-depth deliberations and Focus Group Discussions during the recently concluded ICDE Standing Conference of Presidents 2012 (ICDE SCOP 2012) at the HBMeU headquarters. While drafting the Strategic Plan, ICDE members also took into account the key points made by H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, during his speech at the event. Organized under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of HBMeU, ICDE SCOP 2012 has witnessed the largest gathering of ICDE members, particularly presidents of open and distance learning universities from around the world, in addition to regional and international ministers, to discuss various challenges and barriers associated with the implementation of ODE in the Arab region and around the world.

During ICDE SCOP 2012, the ICDE members particularly lauded the Mohammad Bin Rashid Initiative for Smart Learning for higher education in the UAE which was recently launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. 
The ICDE members have identified five strategic objectives in line with its vision to become the global membership organization for enhancing the quality of open and distance education.  The Council members also agreed to jointly promote greater educational opportunity for all through increased acceptance of a wider range of learning modes; adoption of best practices and the highest standards of educational provision; development and use of new methodologies; provision of opportunities for professional interaction; encouragement and support for networks at the national, regional, global levels and linguistic groups; and promotion of intercultural cooperation and understanding.
Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of HBMeU, said: “ICDE SCOP 2012 provided an opportunity for HBMeU and other leading entities in open and distance education all over the world to share their experiences and best practices in promoting ODE as a tool for social and economic development. The high-level discussions helped generate new ideas and strategies to address various challenges associated with the implementation of ODE, particularly in terms of aligning ODE programs with the specific needs and priorities of various countries around the world. There were several strategic decisions that were made during the event, including the Council’s approval of the new Strategic Plan, which will surely have a significant impact on the future initiatives of ICDE. On the other hand, Dubai’s hosting of ICDE SCOP 2012 also allowed us to showcase the many advances that the emirate has made in the field of e-learning and academic excellence. Moreover, as hosts of the annual conference, we were particularly pleased to have initiated a more in-depth discussion of the challenges and opportunities in ODE in the Arab region.”
Prof. Tian Belawati, President of ICDE and Rector of the Indonesian Open University, said: “ICDE SCOP remains a very important networking platform that gathers prominent personalities from leading universities and academic institutions around the world to discuss many important issues and concerns significant to open and distance learning. I am pleased with the energetic participation of all delegates during the conference, which has been crucial in developing the new strategic initiatives that we have outlined for the next succeeding years. HBMeU has been a truly gracious host and we certainly had a very productive and wonderful experience enjoying Dubai’s hospitality. Moreover, it has been a great opportunity to see first-hand the amazing breakthroughs that Dubai has achieved over the years as a center for academic excellence and higher learning in the Arab world.”
A new global campaign to further promote e-learning, which will start in Dubai, was also launched during the conference by Prof. Tian Belawati. A number of strategic agreements were also signed during ICDE SCOP 2012, including a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between HBMeU and Beirut Arab University (BAU) to work together on various initiatives related to e-learning such as research, publications, scientific conferences, seminars and events.

GETEX Autumn 2012 opens in Dubai.

GETEX Autumn 2012, the dedicated platform to showcase the widest range of top-quality academic, vocational and training programs from leading regional and international schools, opened today (Wednesday, November 21, 2012) at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Organised under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education, GETEX Autumn 2012 will run until Friday, November 23, featuring a comprehensive selection of Higher Education and Professional Development options, including graduate and postgraduate programs along with vocational and occupational courses.

GETEX Autumn 2012 will launch the Global Business School Fair, which provides an opportunity for MBA schools from all over the world to meet with UAE-based postgraduate students. The Global Business School Fair will host a Business Seminar that will provide students with resources to help them make sound career choices, while enhancing their employment potential in both the public and private sectors. 15 prestigious universities from the UK and about 10 from India are taking part in GETEX Autumn, among other leading universities and academic institutions worldwide.

Anselm Godinho, Managing Director, International Conferences and Exhibitions (IC&E), organizer of the event, said: “Education remains one of the top priorities in the Middle East and this is strongly reflected by the overwhelming response that GETEX Autumn continues to generate over the years. The level of interest this year has become even more intense as we are introducing new segments that are designed to satisfy the specific academic and training requirements of students and professionals in the region. In this regard, GETEX Autumn 2012 will once again bring value to the region’s education industry by providing students with the opportunity to be connected to a wide range of learning options, while offering academic institutions consistently high lead numbers and a better than average student conversion ratio. We are therefore confident of another great run for GETEX Autumn this year, reaffirming its status as the premier recruitment platform for local and international universities and colleges

The Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies organizes special workshop for GCC banking institutions.

Successful event reinforces cooperative ties between banking institutions in the region
November 14, 2012
The Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS), the sole provider of specialized knowledge and enhanced learning experiences for the UAE banking and financial sector, successfully hosted a two-day workshop that specifically catered to directors and senior officials of banking institutions across the GCC region’s banking and finance segment. The program, which was held recently at the Al Meydan Hotel in Dubai, saw the attendance of more than (5) participants coming from leading banks in the region. The move is part of EIBFS continuing commitment to provide the banking segment with strategic and relevant training programs and courses.

Highlights of the event included key speeches and presentations made by industry leaders like Dr. Jomaan Bin Abdullah Al Wigdani, Director General, Saudi Institute for Banking; Dr. Yacoub Al Rifai, Director, Institute of Banking Studies in Kuwait; Gary Murray, Director, Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance and Anis Allwati, General Director, College of Banking and Financial Studies in the Sultanate of Oman.
“We are very pleased at the overwhelming turnout of this event, ably meeting the set objective of strengthening cooperation among GCC banks and facilitating the exchange of experiences, best practices and information through the many activities we held within the workshop. The exciting two-day program proved to be a strategic venue to discuss timely issues and at the same time develop solutions for human resources development challenges and how to further the development of GCC nationals who have chosen banking as a professional career. We would also like to thank the industry leaders who came and shared their insights with us as the participants surely learned from them and are now ready to put their newfound knowledge to use,” concluded Jamal Al Jasmi, General Manager of the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS).
About the Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS)
The Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS) is the UAE’s sole provider of specialized knowledge and enhanced learning experiences for the local banking and finance sector. Established in 1983, the institution offers a wide range of both training and academic programs that have been developed to meet the needs of the country’s banking, insurance and finance sectors. Bolstered by its vision to become a leading institution that provides world-class education and training in banking and finance at local, regional and international levels, EIBFS has also forged strategic partnership with leading international institutions abroad. With campuses located in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the institution continues to remain true to its three-fold objective of raising the standard of performance of the banking workforce; qualify UAE nationals for successful careers in the industry and strengthen the country’s pool of skilled nationals.   

Presidents of 150 international universities gather at HBMeU for first-ever meeting in Arab world.

International Council for Open and Distance Education Standing Conference of Presidents to discuss challenges, opportunities, strategies
Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University (HBMeU), H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, inaugurated today (Tuesday, November 13, 2012) the International Council for Open and Distance Education Standing Conference of Presidents 2012 (ICDE SCOP 2012), a first-of-its-kind gathering in the Arab region that is being attended by 150 presidents of open and distance learning universities from around the world.

This year’s conference also marks the 74thanniversary of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). To mark this occasion, Prof. Tian Belawati, President of ICDE and Rector of the Indonesian Open Universityhas announced a global campaign, starting from Dubai, to further promote e-learning. ICDE is a network of 100 educational institutions worldwide working to promote open and distance learning, and provide opportunities for exchange of educational best practices.
The ICDE SCOP 2012 kicked off at the HBMeU headquarters in Dubai Academic City with an opening address by H.E. Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai Police Chief and Chairman of HBMeU’s Board of Governors. The Conference is being held under the theme ‘Open and Distance Education (ODE): Barriers, Opportunities & Strategies Forward’ to discuss major challenges and obstacles regarding the implementation of open and distance learning from both an international and regional perspective. It will also explore opportunities ODE provides in helping countries overcome socio-economical challenges and will provide insights into successful strategies for advocacy of ODE. The meeting places particular focus on the latest trends and developments in ODE, including Open Educational Resources, quality and regulatory framework, among others.
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The opening day featured speeches by Dr. Laurence F. Johnson, Chief Executive Office of the New Media Consortium and Dr. Badr Aboul-Ela, Director of the Commission for Academic Accreditation, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, U.A.E Vice-President of the Arab Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (ANQAAHE). The first day also featured an extensive discussion on the topic “Does ODE offer a viable alternative to residential education?” moderated by UAE-based media professional Omar Obaid Bin Butti, who highlighted the differences between open and distance learning, and residential learning. Dr. Meg Benke, Acting President, Office of the President, Empire State College, State University of New York, USA, also participated in the session, along with Prof. Mandla Makhanya, Vice Chancellor, University of South Africa, Prof. Anja Oskamp, Rector, Open University Netherlands, and Prof. Tolly Mbwette, Vice Chancellor, Open University of Tanzania.
H.E. Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim noted that ICDE SCOP 2012, the 19th edition of the global event that is being held for the first time in the Arab world, serves as a fitting event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of HBMeU and underline the level of success that the University has achieved. One of the key objectives of ICDE SCOP 2012 is to approve its strategic plan for 2013-2016. The conference also serves as an ideal platform to conduct extensive discussions on the opportunities and challenges related to open and distance learning in the Middle East, and developing effective strategies to deploy the e-learning concept on a global scale.
“As a leading institution in the field of e-learning, HBMeU is committed to promote academic excellence by building effective channels for communication, and exchange of ideas and experiences with different open and distance learning academic institutions worldwide. This will enable us to establish new standards that will further enhance the quality of e-learning and strengthen its role as a pillar for overall development in the Middle East and around the world. Over the last 10 years, HBMeU has been able to complement the vision of UAE’s leaders, to achieve sustainable development and join the global race by adopting innovative learning practices,” he added.  
Prof. Tian Belawati, President of ICDE and Rector of the Indonesian Open University, expressed her pleasure that SCOP 2012 is being held in the Middle East, which is an important step in strengthening the role of open and distance learning as one of the solid foundations of academic excellence in the Arab world and the world in general. Belawati also recognized the efforts of HBMeU in ensuring the success of this first-of-its-kind event in the Arab world, and highlighted the commitment of all stakeholders to implement the recommendations developed during the Conference, which continues to serve as an ideal venue for exchanging experiences in open and distance learning.
The International Council for Open and Distance Education Standing Conference of Presidents 2012 has been a source of recommendations and initiatives that strengthen the channels of communication between major academic institutions specialized in electronic, open and distance learning worldwide. It also facilitates a healthy exchange of information and discussions concerning strategies, while also covering political trends in its continuing pursuit of a solid framework that cultivates a culture of lifelong learning.
– Ends –

Number of UAE students going to UK for higher education is rising, despite tightened visa regulations.

EDUKEX 2012 set to highlight UK’s continuing reputation as a preferred higher education destination
Dubai, UAE, 8th November 2012: The number of students going to UK universities from the UAE has been rising since 2002, despite that the constraints of tightened visa regulations. According to the latest data released by British Council, the United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, there were 3,145 UAE students studying in the UK for 2011 academic year, which represents an increase of 126 per cent over 2002.

These figures were released on the sidelines of the 13th edition of the Education UK Exhibition ‘EDUKEX 2012’ which is organized by British Council from November 11 to 13. The one-day Abu Dhabi event will be opened by the British Ambassador to the UAE, Dominic Jermey CVO, OBE,  on November 11 in Beach Rotana Hotel, while the Dubai event will be inaugurated by British Consul General in Dubai, Edward Hobart, on November 12 in Al Murooj Rotana Hotel.
Lara Khouri, Education UK Marketing Manager British Council UAE. 
Lara Khouri, Education UK Marketing Manager, British Council UAE said: “The remarkable 126 percent rise in the number of students compared with 2002 figures demonstrates that the UK education system enjoys a high reputation among UAE students  as a gateway to acquiring skills that would enable them to compete effectively in the global market.”
EDUKEX 2012 offers an ideal opportunity for visitors to learn about English language courses, vocational courses and higher education courses offered by a large number of UK universities. The show is part of the British Council’s initiative to enhance cultural and educational relations between the UAE and UK by helping create a knowledge-based economy.
Khouri added that the main objective of EDUKEX was to raise awareness of the quality of UK education and the extensive choice of courses on offer at every academic level by world-renowned universities.
At this year’s event, more than 50 UK universities and specialist colleges will showcase a wide range of bachelors and masters courses, as well as foundation-year courses.
This show is a one-of-a-kind platform for UK’s distinguished educational providers to open their doors and direct students to the best educational programmes as per their capabilities and preferences. The show gathers representatives from UK institutions who will be on hand to talk about courses and degree options, entry requirements and studying in the UK.
She added: “Besides encouraging a positive perception of the UK as a place to study, this event aims to provide UK institutions with a targeted market-driven audience to whom they may promote their courses.  The exhibition will also raise the quality of enquires by guiding students on what issues they need to consider when visiting EDUKEX. It gives information on UK qualifications, entry requirements and modes of study.”
She added: “This annual event provides students in the UAE with the opportunity to meet representatives from a number universities and colleges in the UK with a view to further developing their education. In addition to universities and colleges, the UK Border Agency and British Council colleagues will also be present to answer visa-related and IELTS queries.”
“We expect over 1,500 visitors to attend the show and interact with exhibitors, some of whom will also be making presentations on various pathways to entry to a UK programme on November 11 in Abu Dhabi and on November 12 and 13 in Dubai,” Khouri concluded.