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July-September 2021

How the pandemic accelerated the Gulf’s edtech revolution

The Gulf education sector witnessed a seismic transformation during the Covid-19 pandemic as schools quickly introduced technology to adapt to restrictions on in-classroom teaching. About one million student schedules were disrupted in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) alone, according to government data. The Middle East has since emerged as a fast-growing market for education technology (edtech) companies, with global players citing a 500% increase in subscribers from the region in 2020 compared with 2019, according to a report from RedSeer Consulting. “Demands for a highly skilled workforce in the country, a pro-education government and ease of doing business enable the edtech sector’s favourable growth opportunities in the UAE,” said the study. According to Senthil Nathan, managing director and co-founder of education consultancy Edu Alliance and former deputy vice-chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology Abu Dhabi, before the pandemic, online education had been “looked down upon or, at best, treated as supplementary ...

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