Recently, Edudemic posted a list of ten cities aspiring to make a name for themselves as future education hubs.
There were a few places you would expect to find on the list such as Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Hong Kong. However, we think the up-and-coming cities might be more interesting ones to watch with regards to new business development in the long-term, and therefore, have extracted a quick summary of them below for your convenience.
Visitors to Doha, Qatar will find an array of architecturally impressive buildings at the Education City, a large educational hub on the outskirts of the city. The hub offers courses at nearly all levels of education, from elementary school (through Qatar Academy and The Learning Center) all the way up to doctoral programmes, in an attempt to instruct students in fields of critical importance to this Gulf country’s economic well-being.
Currently, there are six US universities, one British university, and one French university offering courses and degree programmes in Education City, with professors hailing from big name schools like Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, and Georgetown. There is also one Qatari university that offers degrees in Islamic studies.
With top-notch facilities, a huge research park, and high-quality instruction, the hub is drawing interest not only from Qatar but around the world as well.
In 2007, Bahrain announced plans to develop itself as an education hub, hoping to establish itself as the premier destination for higher education in the region. Of all the nations on this list, Bahrain’s programmes are most in their infancy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t become a major player in the coming years.
The country already has relationships with McMaster University, American University of Beirut, Hanover University, and the University of Westminster, and with the construction of new facilities, more international schools are soon to join.
It will be the fifth education hub in the Middle East region, offering students in these areas a chance to attend top-tier schools without going far from home.
Jeju, South Korea
South Korea is on a mission to become an education destination not only from South Asia but also for the world. They’re off to a good start with a new project called Jeju Global Education City that began construction in 2009. Located in Jeju, an island off the coast of South Korea, the school combines top-notch elementary, middle, and high schools and universities, many coming from foreign nations like the US and the UK.
The official language of the school will be English, with all courses taught in the language and all students, teachers, staff, and administrators required to speak it.
The school is largely a response of the desires of Korean parents to send their children to Western-style schools, where they can learn English and escape the pressures of the Korean education system, but still keep them close to home so they can visit. But the education hub won’t just be a place for Korean students; developers hope to draw in students from all over the region, especially China.
Fort Clayton, Panama
Former US military buildings were converted into a center for knowledge exchange in Fort Clayton, Panama, in a project that’s called the City of Knowledge (or Ciudad del Saber to the locals).
Founded in 1998, the educational hub brings together universities, technology, and businesses, with the idea that the facility would help bring more economic prosperity and high-tech projects to the Latin American region as a whole.
The country has offered a number of fiscal incentives to top universities to encourage them to bring branch campuses there, and now several schools offer degrees through the city, including McGill, U Penn, Florida State, Saint Louis University, Iowa State, and the School for International Training.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka isn’t an education hub just yet, but the nation has made that goal one of the most important to its national development plans. The Ministry of Higher Education in Sri Lanka announced that it wants to construct the most cost effective education hub in Asia, establishing itself as a regional knowledge and education hub in the region by 2015. After decades of civil war, political instability, and economic malaise, the South Asian nation finally seems poised to be able to make this goal a reality.
While projects are in development, there are still major roadblocks, including protests of plans to allow foreign colleges to establish branch campuses in Sri Lanka, a major component of most education hubs in the region. Additionally, just yesterday it was announced that due to a two-month-long strike by academics, the Sri Lankan government ordered to close all universities (except the medical faculties) in the country until further notice. (Editor’s note: as of 6 September, universities have re-opened).
Still, low cost-of-living, safety, and a rich cultural environment may be enough to help build the nation as a major education player in the coming years.
Unlike others on this list, India isn’t building education cities to bring in foreign students, instead it is working to establish a knowledge economy that’s helping to bring in top students and quality professors from all over the world.
Bangalore is just one example of the way India is making itself an education destination. The city is full of IT companies and tech research, fed by a number of research and academic institutions like the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management.
This highlights another difference between India and other education destinations on this list: much of India’s academic programmes are homegrown and don’t come from foreign institutions. Indeed, it is a tense time in the Indian higher education sector, with the government recently shelving pending legislation that would allow foreign universities to establish campuses and award degrees in India.
These differences may be what helps make India a more sustainable destination for education over the long term, as it doesn’t have to rely on other international support to meet its own educational goals.
If these six lesser-known cities are not on your recruitment plans now, check back in a year’s time to see how things have changed…