Higher education, General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), regulatory reforms, education hubs


Deregulation, privatization and the change in international rules on trade in services led to the increase in the number of private higher education institutions and international branch campuses in the Arab Gulf region. With the inspiration to shift to a knowledge-based economy and to prepare graduates to meet the needs of the public and the private sectors, recent initiatives in higher education in these countries have been either mostly state-driven or mostly market-driven, with varying degree of success. These initiatives required changes in the regulatory environment and did not fully address the challenges faced in the higher education sector. The paper examines the rationales and strategies used by six countries in the Arab Gulf, which are working towards positioning themselves as regional education hubs, highlighting the challenges and the areas that require further study.

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