The Middle East and North Africa
region has one of the fastest growing populations in the
world. According to figures supplied by the Population
Reference Bureau in Washington, USA, in 2001 over a
third of the region’s population was under 15 years of
age. This is a trend which is here to stay.
to a Dubai Knowledge Village representative, this
population structure creates a huge demand for higher
education in the region.
the demand for higher education is still far greater
than the supply. This shows that there is a niche in the
region, which the UAE has set out to tap into by
creating the infrastructure necessary for developing,
sharing and applying knowledge. The inauguration of
Dubai Knowledge Village in October 2003, is a major step
forward in the strategy to develop Dubai as the
destination for education in the Middle East.
Knowledge Village is expected to supply the emirate of
Dubai with its future workforce in many different
fields, guaranteeing the country’s continuous
sustainable development, its significance goes beyond
the emirate’s borders and even beyond the UAE federal
borders. Knowledge Village is open to international
students and has set out the ambitious goals of bridging
the talent gap in the region and positioning the Middle
East as a centre of excellence for learning and
Village is part of The Dubai Technology and Media Free
Zone, which was set up in 2000 as a self-funded,
autonomous organization empowered by the government of
Dubai. This offers substantial business incentives to
the institutions operating out of Knowledge Village such
as 100 per cent ownership and exemptions from corporate,
customs and personal tax as well as full repatriation of
capital and profits.
its value proposition, the free zone offers the latest
IT and communications infrastructure with IP telephony
as well as advanced security and hosting services and
satellite communication services.
Village was designed to complement the Free Zone’s other
two clusters: Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City
by providing the facilities to train the clusters'
would-be workforce, which is heavily focused in the
media, communications and IT sectors.
Knowledge Village is the home to some 200 companies.
These include international universities, online
academic institutions and e-learning providers, as well
as research and development centres and testing,
innovation and professional training centres. The
current campus of the state-of-the-art facility is
currently fully occupied.
fostering 15 universities from the UK, Ireland,
Australia, India, Iran, Pakistan, Belgium and Russia,
Knowledge Village is set to grow further in 2006 when it
will expand to include the first stage of its mega
campus, Dubai Knowledge Universities. A company
spokesperson said the number of universities represented
is expected to double by 2010.
looking for quality international education have a wide
choice of degrees and courses at Knowledge Village-based
institutions. These include university diplomas in
management, IT, engineering, commerce, fashion
technology, medical sciences and biotechnology. At
present the following universities operate out of Dubai
The British University in Dubai, Heriot Watt University
Dubai and Middlesex University from the UK, University
of Wollongong in Dubai and University of Southern
Queensland in Dubai from Australia, Birla Institute of
Technology and Science, Manipal University, Mahatma
Gandhi University and SP Jain Center of Management from
India, Royal College of Surgeons and Dublin Business
School from Ireland, Islamic Azad University from Iran,
Shaheed Zulhkar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and
Technology from Pakistan, European University College
Brussels from Belgium and Saint Petersburg State
University from Russia.
students are given quick and easy access to all
represented universities through the Knowledge Village
website, which can provide more information on the types
of degrees at each partner institution. While students
must pay tuition fees, there are almost 100 scholarships
up for grabs each year. Scholarships are given mainly on
efforts are made to ensure that students, especially
those who are new and / or coming from abroad,
acclimatise to the new environment. At the beginning of
each academic year, Knowledge Village organises an open
day for international students and a week of welcome for
new students, a move which helps them get vital
knowledge of the educational process they are about to
world-class education, students can reply on help when
it comes to putting their knowledge to practice.
Knowledge Village boasts a Department of Student
Services and Programmes, which is utilising its links
with Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City when
sourcing internship and job opportunities for students
and graduates. Knowledge Village offers students
formalised internship opportunities in companies at the
free zone such as global heavy-weights Siemens,
MasterCard, HSBC and Hewlett-Packard.
Village also provides training for people with special
needs to whom it caters to via the Tamkeen non-profit
training centre for the visually impaired. Tamkeen was
inaugurated in May 2004 and aims to empower visually
impaired people in the country by helping them optimize
their independence and contribute to the UAE workforce.
training, support and counseling services, Tamkeen is an
initiative of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin
Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defense
Minister. It is also supported by Knowledge Village, the
British Council, and biz-ability. Since it first opened
its doors, Tamkeen has seen around 25 students graduate
from its special training course, which aims to create
meaningful job opportunities for visually impaired
people in the country.
of Dubai Knowledge Village comes to show the beneficial
effects that free zone areas have had on Dubai’s
economy. The creation of such zones has been a major
step in efforts to diversify the emirate’s economy and
build a sustainable future. At present there are 15 free
zones in the UAE, the majority of which are based in
Dubai. Following is a short list of the new projects
Aid City :
integrated community that caters to the local, regional
and international, relief aid community, this project
will utilize Dubai’s strategic proximity to the Africa
and South East Asia regions. From distribution and
storage facility to relief aid technical emergency
centers, Dubai Aid city will act as a dynamic community
bridging the gap between donors, relief aid suppliers
and organizations within the humanitarian value chain.
Dubai Silicon Oasis :
represents Dubai’s first attempt to become a global IT
To be built
in Deira, Dubai, this will be a focal point for the
emirate’s hand-made carpet sector.
Mohammad Bin Rashid Technology Park:
south of Sheikh Zayed Road, in the Jebel Ali area, the
Technology Park is designed to serve as the hub of
technology companies in the Middle East, Central Asia
Parts City FZ
: aims to boost auto part re-exports from Dubai
Textile Village FZ:
Located in Awir, this project is expected to be
completed by October 2005 and is designed to give a
boost to the emirate’s textile manufacturing sector.
Equipment & Trucks FZ:
Aiming to increase re-exports of trucks and heavy
equipment, this new zone will feature administrative and
licensing offices, banks, customs and a Chamber of
Flower Centre FZ:
boasts a strategic location within the state-of-the-art
Dubai International Airport, this facility will give a
fresh boost to the region’s horticulture industry.
Studio City FZ:
Situated within the Dubailand mega-project, this
facility will offer a complete infrastructure solution
the film, TV and music production industries. Production
companies and support service providers offering
production and post-production facilities and animation
studios are expected to set up shop within this project.
Outsource Zone FZ:
An initiative of Dubai Internet City, this is
‘free zone’ in the world dedicated to outsourcing.
a science and business park dedicated to the biotech