Educational hubs: who invests in their development?

We offer you one of the issues of the journal “International Higher Education” №79 / Winter 2015, namely scientific article devoted Educational hubs.

Jane Knight Jane Knight – lecturer at the Institute of educational studies at the Ontario University of Toronto, Canada.

E-mail: janeknight @

Formation of international education hub

– One of the highlights of the international higher education in recent years. Creation of an educational hub on a national level is the result of systematic work to bring together a multitude of local and international participants in the educational sector – universities, students, research centers and specialists in the development of education and knowledge industry. Today as educational hubs positioned themselves six countries: Ka tar, UAE, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Botswana.

But who is funding these processes? Public or private? Local or foreign? And as far as the existing funding models are stable?

All these questions deserve careful consideration.

International issues and trends in Qatar

Each country has developed a strategy of financial support for the formation of educational units. Qatar model is interesting and at the same time unique. Branches of foreign universities and companies located in industrial parks and Education City Science and Technology Park, provided all the necessary infrastructure and material resources. Furthermore, the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development covers 100% of the running costs of ten international university branches and new Hamad bin Khalifa University (which offers education, including at the level of graduate and postgraduate), which is quite a considerable sum. A huge annual operating costs to support technology parks Education City and the Science and Technology Park, as well as many other re- search grant programs and initiatives by the Government of Qatar.

The question is, whether the financing model of educational innovation is completely due to the state of sustainable and rational? In fact, Qatar buys and imports most of the educational programs, services and research offered as part of the educational unit. The key question is how long the state should invest in the purchase and importation of foreign experience, in order to strengthen national capacities. Since the Government of Qatar has begun work on attracting individual foreign universities to develop specific educational programs in Technopark Education City, passed for 17 years. Can this be regarded as the first stage of a long-term strategy for the development of national human resources capacity in order to reduce dependence on foreign chamber of firewood and raw materials industries, or as a new modus operandi? If the latter, how this model of stability and efficiency? If not, what is the next step?


In the UAE completely different approach to financing, investment and income generation.

Each emirate proposed own approach to developing the educational hub. UAE invited world-renowned universities, such as New York University and the Sorbonne, to open branches on the basis of the infrastructure offered by the government of Abu Dhabi. In addition, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was invited to collaborate on the creation of the Masdar Institute of Technology in Masdar City under construction, which is to become the world’s first free zone of carbon. In Masdar City will be located research centers and educational programs and world-leading scientists will live – and all this with the support of the Abu Dhabi government, ie as a result of huge investment of public funds.

In Dubai, a completely different situation. The Strategic Plan of Dubai based on the idea of ​​creating three thematic free economic zones, two of which – Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City – will focus on the development of education. On the investment arm of the Government of Dubai (TECOM) is the task of creating the infrastructure and facilities in these economic zones and attracting reputable foreign universities and companies. To ensure the development of educational and training programs in these areas will be established attractive tax and regulatory conditions. Unlike Qatar and Abu Dhabi, organizations working in Dubai do not receive subsidies to cover operating expenses and pay rent on their own premises, buildings, etc. It is estimated that domestic public investments in two free economic zones educational Dubai make up about 80% of the total cost of land, infrastructure, services offered, and private foreign investment in the form of cost-tenant organizations account for 20%. Data on the amount of revenue received direct TECOM from rental of land and so on., As well as tuition fees, is not, however, given the relative stability of these economic zones, which are already operating at full capacity, it is possible to assume that the current funding system works, and the volume of educational opportunities provided mainly to foreign students there has been growing steadily. Thus, 60% of international students enrolled in universities branches UAE – expats, 32% – students of foreign universities, branches are opened in the UAE and UAE nationals account for only 8% of the students.

On the investment arm of the Government of Dubai (TECOM) is the task of creating the infrastructure and facilities in these economic zones and attracting reputable foreign universities and companies.

Hong Kong, Singapore and Botswana

Experience Hong Kong is another scenario. The government limits the amount of public investment for the development of an educational hub ever since its announcement in 2004. The first tranche of public funds has been allocated in the form of scholarships and aims to attract talented foreign students, primarily from China. Then, the government has allocated a piece of land for the construction of local and foreign universities of their branches, but it is not known whether Hong Kong to build buildings and then lease them or universities should be self-sufficient in all the infrastructure.

A similar situation in Botswana: the state participated in the development of detailed plans for the development of the educational unit, but its material investments are limited. Botswana plans to create an educational hub is still in force, but they have had a negative impact of the economic crisis of 2008 and 2012. To date, limited government investment agency scholarships for international students and the foundation of a new university – Botswana International University of Science and Technology.

Investing in Singapore educational hub, which began in 1998, it is difficult to track because of the absence of any information about it was private or public, domestic or foreign sources of funding. No conclusions can not be done, but it is important to note that the government of Singapore is often referred to as venture investors, because it generously support efforts to develop an educational hub.


The situation with the development strategy of the educational hub in Malaysia is complex and consists of many different components. In Malaysia, already are seven branches of foreign universities and plans to open several more. These projects are implemented with the participation of both the private foreign and domestic national capital. And with the recent creation of a free economic zone “Iskandar” educa- tional projects began to receive more generous funding from Khazanah Nasional – state investment arm of the Government of Malaysia. This organization spontaneous sate building infrastructure for attracting foreign universities. In general, domestic public investment in the development of the educational unit up in Malaysia, it is estimated that about 50% of total assets; Another 40% comes from the Malaysian private investors. Source remaining 10% – private foreign investment and so on.


Described examples show that the development of educational units is not possible without the participation of the state capital. This process also requires the use of private funds from local and foreign sources, but we can not underestimate the importance of public capital to launch similar projects and maintain their viability. In the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia initial public investment paid off in the end due to the fact that we managed to attract new sources of private funding. As of Singapore and Qatar, another model, with core funding from public money (or money ruling family), which is also demonstrated their worth over the past 15 years. However, questions about the sustainability and replicability of such financing models in other countries remain open.

Link to article in the journal “International Higher Education.”

The magazine “International Higher Education” is published by the Center for International Higher Education (CIHE) Boston College (USA). Editor in Chief, Director of the Center for International Higher Education, a world-renowned scientist – Professor Philip G. Altbach.

On the basis of a cooperation agreement between the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College and the Independent Kazakhstan Quality Assurance Agency in Education, IQAA publishes a Russian-language edition of the magazine “International Higher Education” for Russian-speaking academic community of the CIS and Kazakhstan. The magazine “International Higher Education” – an electronic journal freely available online, whose main purpose is to disseminate information to faculty members, university administrations, experts in the field of higher education, students and all interested parties on the status, problems, ways and solutions development of higher education on a global scale. The journal publishes many well-known experts in the field of higher education from all countries of the world. The magazine serves as a source for the dissemination of the latest news in the field of higher education from all over the world.

The journal is published quarterly and includes 4 issues per year. The Russian-language edition of the magazine “International Higher Education” comes from the autumn of 2009. Each room is divided into several thematic sections and contains about 15-18 short articles (3-5 pp.), Which examines the main trends in higher education, various aspects of the university, the new publication. Each room focuses on individual tasks, such as education reform carried out in different countries, how to create world-class universities, as a form of academic ratings and other tools for quality assurance. Reviews and original research. Also published news of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, and an overview of recent literature in the field of higher education.

Scientific editor of the Russian edition of the magazine: Professor Kalanova Sh.M.