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GESS successfully concludes 7th edition, expands brand globally

The Middle East’s leading education exhibition and conference brand now ventures into Mexico, organisers announce

The 2014 edition of the Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) and Global Education Forum (GEF) concluded successfully, chalking up new milestones on its 7th year.

This year, 30% more visitors compared to last year trooped to the Dubai World Trade Centre to witness a vast array of products and solutions showcase catering specifically to the education sector, further strengthening the place of GESS as the leading education exhibition and conference in the Middle East.

Among the highlights of this year’s exhibition include the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Education and Information City to support the implementation of the “Educate a Child, Build a Nation” initiative.  H.E. Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qatami, Minister of Education, UAE and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Maktoum Bin Juma Al Maktoum, Chairman of Information City, which will provide students plenty of opportunities to develop skills for information systems by establishing Student’s Science Camps across the UAE.

The initiative comes at a time when cognitive and technical skills are the most sought after among employers. Citing a recent study conducted by IDC, Asif Rashid, Technology Specialist at Microsoft, says among the tops skills and/or attributes required for occupations that will account for 11.5 million new hires and 28% of job growth by 2020 include oral and written communication skills, ability to use Microsoft office, problem solving, being detail-oriented, and having excellent organisational skills.

Growing international reach

This year also marked the first time that the United States and Finland had country pavilions, joining the UK, China and Korea.  Organisers say this is a healthy sign of the growing international interest in the education market in the Middle East. “Expect more world-class products and innovative solutions to enter the Gulf education sector. This means teachers, students as well as administrators and decision-makers will have access to a growing array of choices for cutting-edge products and solutions that can help them teach and learn better,” said Matt Thompson, Project Director, F&E Group, organisers of the GESS exhibition and GEF conference.

Over the last seven years, GESS has served as the leading platform for education stakeholders connect and do business on all matters related to education. GEF has also provided seminal ideas and insights on best practices and advancing innovation through world-class presentations and panel discussions conducted by leading regional and international experts. “We are proud to say that this home-grown brand has now crossed international borders and will be staged in Mexico on 6-8 May 2015 at the World Trade Centre, Mexico City. It will be known as the Global Educational Supplies and Solutions. This is another phase of our growth plans and we hope to have as much impact there as we have here,” continued Thompson.

Another important milestone announced at GESS is the pilot programme that will train educators from six Gulf states in teaching with technology using standards developed by The International Society for Technology in Education, which signed an agreement with GESS to promote the organisation’s work among education professionals in the Middle East.

“I am pleased now to tell you about an innovative pilot underway here in the Middle East that is built on the standards. Working in partnership with ABEGS, we will train educators in the Gulf States on how to better support classroom teachers on the effective use technology and digital resources for instruction and learning,” said Brian Lewis, ISTE, the US-based non-profit that curates and develops definitive international standards on the effective use of technology to drive student learning.

The pilot programme will  discover and assess current technologies, skills and infrastructure; as well as train 20 coaches in the six pilot areas. The programme will also work with participating Gulf State Ministries to take ideas and recommendations to improve the program. “The end result of our collaboration with the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States (ABEGS) will be an innovative professional development approach, one where an effective coaching model will be refined and implemented,” Lewis continued.

Conference innovations

GESS introduced many first this year, including having the whole event being CPD certified. “Our strongest pull have been the quality of products showcased and the calibre of speakers and presentations in our forum. This year, that fact that just by attending the event anyone can use avail of CPD certification made the event even more attractive for  education professionals to attend,” Thompson continued.

It also launched the GESS Education Awards, presenting 18 awards to individuals, organisations, and companies who have made outstanding contributions to the development of the education sector in the Middle East. Organisers envision the awards to become the leading recognition programme in the education industry in the region.