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GIS Education in GCC Region

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Neha arora
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The Middle East is not natural dollar rich region in the world, as popularly it is believed to be.
Contrasting economic strengths of different countries in the region make it a problematic region. This includes oil-rich Gulf countries and at the same time there are countries like Egypt, Morocco and Yemen, which are resource scarce with respect to their respective population sizes. However, efforts are on to provide quality technical and higher education in this region. World Bank Middle East and North Africa Regional Brief 2005 report says, “While the countries here invest a higher proportion of their gross domestic product on education than other regions in the world, the region continues to face challenges in developing a high-quality education system at all levels and promoting life-long learning and training that responds to needs of the labour market.”

Improving the education system, therefore, is an important component of the World Bank’s strategy to promote knowledge-based economic development, and to facilitate the economic transition of these countries. For countries in the region that are not eligible for borrowing, the Bank continues to provide advisory services under the Reimbursable Technical Cooperation Program. “In fiscal 2005, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates received advice on policy reforms in areas, such as the investment climate, education, and human resources planning”, the World Bank Middle East and North Africa Regional Brief 2005 report said.

In GCC countries, due to existence of abundant natural resources, and the necessity for planning and managing those resources for effective use and also because of the rapid development, the need for using GIS and remote sensing techniques is severely felt. Now, the problem is that in these countries, technologies arrive without any teaching and training before that, which makes a lot of financial or technical problems. To use these techniques effectively and scientifically, existence of academic education in different levels to fulfill required educated personnel as well as to teach users are necessary.

The setting up of Knowledge Village, located in Dubai, UAE is one step towards fulfilling learning and training requirements. It is a common place where any established university, college or educational institute can offer their services. “KV” offers many gateways to obtain higher education in fields of Business, I.T, Graphics design and even Medicine.

GIS Courses and training programmes
Bahrain Centre For Studies And Research is also offering a professional course with specialization in remote sensing; applications of remote sensing for mapping of shallow marine habitats (part of Coast Management) and for marine environmental monitoring.

Arabian Gulf University located in Bahrain offers a Post-Graduate Diploma and Master Degrees in “GIS and Remote Sensing”. The academic program provides scholars with distinguished background on theoretical and practical knowledge in GIS, RS, DB and programming language.

Kuwait Institute for Scientific Reseach also provides following specialized courses:

  • Introduction to Remote Sensing: Digital Image Processing
  • Radar Interferometry: Basic Principles and Application
  • Remote Sensing and Image Processing Application in Earth Resources and Environmental Studies
  • Introduction to GIS
  • Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • Remote Sensing and Image Processing Applications in Earth Sciences

The Centre for GIS, State of Qatar has also implemented a comprehensive training program, which provides beginner, intermediate and advanced courses in all aspects of GIS operation and management. In addition it conducts training sponsors seminars, workshops and special training courses.

Qatar’s GIS in agreement with ESRI established an authorized regional training program. This program provides trainees with ESRI certified certificates.

The Centre has also worked closely with the University of Qatar to establish a long term GIS Technology Diploma Program.

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