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GESS Dubai 2023: Fueling Educational Transformation in the Middle East Through Resource Innovation

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As the number of international schools in the Middle East reach a record high of 2,068, educational institutions have identified key resourcing challenges to meet the increasing demand of a student population of over 1.9 million. The Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) Dubai organised by Tarsus convenes an assembly of the top educational suppliers and solution providers from 40 countries representing over 350 brands on October 30 to November 1, 2023, at Za’abeel Halls, Dubai World Trade Centre connecting key industry stakeholders with the tools, insights, and partnerships to tackle the pressing needs of international schools across the region.

Navigating Resourcing Challenges in the Region
In the ever-evolving landscape of education, challenges in resource procurement are inevitable. According to ISC Research, school leaders in the UAE have indicated that the actual sourcing of necessary resources is not a major hurdle when adequate time and funding are available. However, the real obstacles lie in the protracted lead times required for goods transportation and customs clearance. While inflationary pressures have been felt in the UK, US, and Europe, the impact on schools remains relatively subdued, thanks to the resilience of the AED/USD exchange rate and access to more cost-effective products from Asia and local suppliers.

Resource procurement in Saudi Arabia is a time-consuming process. The sweltering summer months often coincide with storage periods, where temperatures can exceed 50°C, causing potential damage to certain goods like book bindings. Although many items are available domestically, they often come with premium price tags. To optimize costs, some schools resort to consolidating purchases through the UAE, while teachers, when visiting their home countries, personally procure goods from platforms like Amazon, covering the additional luggage expenses.

Across the education landscape in Qatar, leaders are keenly aware of the rapid transformation driven by education technology. Schools are actively fostering agile EdTech environments, with many establishing research and development committees or hiring technology professionals. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are regarded as pivotal tools for data analysis and expanding students’ horizons. Consequently, there’s a growing emphasis on training students to harness these technologies safely and analytically. Across the rest of the GCC, educational institutions face shared challenges when it comes to sourcing necessary supplies. These challenges encompass high customs duties, extended delays, a shortage of skilled labor for equipment maintenance, and a limited presence of international vendors within the region. For instance, the scarcity of suppliers for products like Apple results in elevated costs and shipping delays exceeding four months. The absence of local book publishers, regulated due to curriculum control by the Ministry, forces heavy reliance on foreign publishers, impacting education delivery. Consequently, the procurement of educational supplies primarily originates from the UK and the USA, but also extends to other regions such as Australia and Asian suppliers, which are gaining traction in the market.

Meeting Resourcing Challenges Head-On
In the face of regional resource challenges, GESS Dubai 2023 takes on a pivotal role of bringing together a distinguished assembly of the world’s foremost educational suppliers and solution experts under one roof.

GESS Dubai welcomes its biggest ever Chinese pavilion and largest contingent of Chinese exhibitors with 40+ providers exhibiting this year, including renowned brands such as ClassIn and Skyworth for whom are both participating for the first time at GESS Dubai.

A dedicated UK pavilion, supported by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), will welcome over 30 UK education providers, including companies such as Netsupport, Century Tech, 3P Learning, TES, Renaissance Learning, and more. Additionally, there has been an increase in exhibitors specializing in English learning compared to previous years, with companies like English with Gabi and The English Monk participating.

The North American representation at GESS Dubai continues to flourish bringing back the likes of Edpuzzle, Classlink, Speeachace, Scholastic, kahoot, Nearpod, Amplify and SMART Technologies. Whilst welcoming new additions this year such as Turnitin, a US headquarted company plagiarism checker for teachers. As well as Power School which is a leading provider of cloud-based software in K-12 education.

GESS Dubai has seen an increase in exhibitors from Australia/New Zealand (Furnware, Komodo Wellbeing, Intellischool, Schoolbox, Clipboard) further showing the international draw of GESS Dubai to the global market. The return of international pavilions and clusters have also been a reoccurring theme this year with the Finnish Pavillion, and Singaporean cluster.

Alongside the international exhibitors participating in GESS Dubai, UAE-based education providers can also be seen, including Alef Education, Leader Edutech, and Dahua Technology, and one of the event’s Gold Sponsor Emirates Transport, to name a few.

GESS Dubai provides educators with access to products and solutions that meet the needs of the modern classroom and transform the way students learn. In doing so, businesses are able to secure large contracts with ministries and government bodies. Schoolvoice recently onboarded several contracts in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that were initially established through meetings they held at GESS Dubai. Last year, Bahrain Ministry of Education and Microsoft who just signed as this year’s Gold Sponsor also agreed to form a joint working relationship as to transform the country’s educational institutions into smart and secure campuses.

Other Exciting Features at GESS Dubai 2023
GESS Dubai 2023 offers a wealth of learning opportunities through its CPD accredited conference programme and learning sessions divided into zones including: GESS Talks Live Stage, Leader in Education Conference, Wellbeing Space, Skills Development, and Education Innovations. Learn more about them through the latest GESS Dubai agenda – https://www.gessdubai.com/conference-engage-and-inspire

In addition, GESS Awards, a prominent platform for recognizing and applauding excellence, diversity, and the highest quality within a wide spectrum of educational products, resources, services, and individuals, will be returning with a gala dinner scheduled for October 31. The overarching mission of GESS Awards is to facilitate the ongoing enhancement of standards in educational services and products throughout the industry. This year has seen a total of over 900 nomination submissions ranging from 60 countries. Learn more about GESS Awards and consider nominations for next year through https://www.gessawards.com/.

Mark your calendars and join us this year at GESS Dubai 2023 to be part of the largest education exhibition in the Middle East region:

  • October 30 – November 1, 2023
  • Monday and Tuesday 10:00 – 18:00
  • Wednesday 10:00 – 17:00
  • Dubai World Trade Centre, Za’abeel Halls 4-6

Do not miss this opportunity to network, learn, and celebrate the remarkable strides in education at GESS Dubai 2023. Visit the official website for more information and to register to attend for free: www.gessdubai.com.

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