Dubai's education hubs in demand
Dubai's two education hubs increased their numbers of tenants last year, in spite of rising competition from emerging Asian education hubs and persistent concerns about enrolment at private university branch campsuses.
Tecom Investments Education Cluster, which manages the Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City free zones, said that it had recorded 80 new business registrations during 2012, taking its total to 564.
The new registrations at Knowledge Village include Protocol School of Washington, a business etiquette school, the Society for Human Resource Management, a non-profit organisation, and two executive search firms.
The new registrations were "testament to the fact that the parks continue to attract leading organisations", Tecom said.
University of Wollongong Dubai and Middlesex University Dubai also "significantly increased" their presence in Academic City by taking out new office space, Tecom added.
"We are delighted to welcome our new partners into the fold as we continue to support the development of a diversified knowledge-based economy," said Ayoub Kazim,the managing director of Tecom's Education Cluster.
Tecom Investments is an arm of Dubai Holding, a conglomerate owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Both Knowledge Village and Academic City are tax-free education hubs where 100 per cent foreign ownership is permitted. Academic City is host to 21 of the UAE's 37 international branch campuses.
However, the business model underpinning foreign universities' supply of education to UAE students has taken knocks in the past few years, with low enrolment putting an end to some universities' Dubai ventures.
In the past two years there have been several closures of satellite campuses in the UAE, including University of Waterloo last November. University of Waterloo operates out of Academic City, but is not a tenant of Tecom, a spokeswoman for the company said.