x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Education tourism one-stop shop

The Life: Bobbi Hartshorne, the head of education partnerships with Laimoon.com, reveals how the website detailing UAE courses came about.

Bobbi Hartshorne is the head of education partnerships at Laimoon.com. Antonie Robertson / The National
Bobbi Hartshorne is the head of education partnerships at Laimoon.com. Antonie Robertson / The National

Estimates suggest that there are thousands of educational courses on offer in the UAE - but until now there was no single database to list them all. The Dubai-based website Laimoon.com has taken up the challenge. Bobbi Hartshorne, the head of education partnerships with the company, reveals how it all came about.


How did you come up with the idea for the course catalogue?

Laimoon launched in the summer of 2011, with the ambition of becoming a really refreshing and new career portal in the UAE and Qatar. What it does is build a system whereby you can find jobs, courses and useful inspirational pieces about your career. While we were working on the courses, we unearthed a really big problem in the UAE - there is no one central place to find education options online.


What do you mean by education options? Courses?

Yes, anything really. Basically anything from a postgraduate degree, a bachelor's degree, a doctorate or if you are looking to become a chartered or a certified professional.


How does it work?

It will filter out by degree, by short course, by certificate, whatever it is you want to do. You can see what's on offer in Abu Dhabi or what's on offer in Dubai. Basically it is a one-stop shop. If you are looking to come over here and study, or, indeed, you are inside the country and want to study here, you can go to our website, choose your subject of interest and see all your study options available to you in one place.


What is the aim?

The idea is that this will lead to more education tourism. A report came out by Deloitte in January this year that basically went around the Menasa [Middle East, North Africa, South Asia] region and interviewed 2,500 people about their education options. What they discovered was that the UAE was the fourth most popular destination for education among those emerging markets; they are choosing the UAE before they choose Singapore, Malaysia, Australia. Another thing was that for companies, for training, for corporates, the UAE is being selected by the vast majority of the surrounding countries as the place to send their senior management staff to get trained.


How many courses are there in the UAE?

This is an educated estimate but we think somewhere in the region of 20,000. And we think there are somewhere in the region of 800 to 900 different providers.


How long do you think it will take to collate all the information?

We would love to be halfway there in four to five months' time. It would be really nice if it gained enough momentum to be done in the next 18 months to be 100 per cent up there.