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In a city which repeatedly scales new heights in record books with the tallest hotel or residential tower, Dubai also holds the unique distinction of having the world’s largest free zone dedicated to higher education.
Dubai International Academy City (DIAC), located in a sprawling 18-million-square-foot campus near Al Ruwayyah along the Dubai-Al Ain Road, has more than 400 education programs conducted by different institutes. DIAC and Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV), located near Umm Suqueim, are the two education clusters in Dubai holding free zone status.
While DIAC, established in 2007, focuses on higher education, centers operating from DKV mainly conduct vocational training and human resource management courses.
Educational institutes and universities owned by foreigners can teach education programs here while enjoying all the regular features of doing business in a free zone, including full repatriation of profits and exemption from customs duty for goods and services.
The Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (DTMFZA) approves the establishment and registration of companies in DIAC and DKV. However, educational institutes require permission from the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Dubai Government’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
Currently, around 21 international university branch campuses and four UAE-based institutes operate from DKV and DIAC. Around 22,000 students from more than 125 countries are currently registered in the two educational hubs. In the ongoing academic year, 45 new programs were launched by different educational institutes. These consist of 14 undergraduate and 29 postgraduate courses. Even doctorate programs are conducted by some of the universities.
DIAC not only offers land to build academic institutes and residential facilities for the students, there are also options to invest in hotel and retail developments within the zone.
• DIAC is the world’s only free zone dedicated to higher education
• Around 400 different educational programs conducted in DIAC
• Dubai Knowledge Village holds vocational training, HR courses
Source: S. Dhar, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer