Many have this misconceived idea of deserts, camels, and robes in the Middle East overlooking the economic powerhouses with massive latent potential. In reality, the region has enormous economic opportunities for the discerning entrepreneurs who want to permeate this area. And, online learning is one of the growing markets across the region of the Middle East. Some recent updates that help better analyze the scope of online tutoring in the Middle East are:
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are tipped to account for 15 million students this year, with an increase in demand for tutoring.
In 2019, UAE legalized private tutoring for public teachers, resulting in increased teachers available for online teaching.
The parents in the UAE are already spending a huge amount of money on private tuition for their children which is as high as AED 8,000 annually. Having an online tutoring system for the children which is affordable and gives access to global online tutors has great potential in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other middle east countries.
The online education market of Saudi Arabia is expected to garner $237.1 million by 2023 introducing many new opportunities for entrepreneurs
As language learning is given great importance in the Middle East, online language learning platforms have a good scope of being widely adopted there.
Government Initiatives to Promote Online Learning in the Middle East
The different governments in the Middle East have rushed to introduce various online learning programs and initiatives. Let’s have a look:
Oman’s Ministry of Education established ongoing relations with Edutech Middle East, a provider of technology-enabled learning solutions, to integrate around 590 schools around the country with e-learning solutions.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education started a pilot study of e-learning implantation in five secondary schools within the Kingdom. There were also several initiatives launched to maintain the affordability, accessibility, and availability of ICT infrastructure and digital services to continue learning from home.
Provided free internet data via smartphones.
Enabled the previously disabled services applications.
Suspended the deactivation of mobile services.
Increased broadband speed to 100 Mbps.
Activated satellite operations center for internet access in remote areas.
Drivers of Online Tutoring in the Middle East
The Middle East has been a late follower in adopting online learning due to the delay in the adoption of the Internet by the government. However, the acceptance rate is growing at a staggering speed. Below discussed are the key drivers of online learning in the Middle East:
The social values and expectations with regards to males and females in the Middle East are different. Female students are not allowed to be on campus after working hours or on weekends. Online learning makes it possible for female students to interact with faculty members at any time of the day.
Studies also reveal that female students feel shy while participating in in-class discussions and prefer to post their opinions on discussion boards as opposed to having to speak in the classroom. Online learning gives them the means to express their ideas.
The political problems and physical wall barriers put by the Israeli forces in Palestine resulted in the inability to move between university campuses and hospitals. The medical students used online technology to access online courses in basic medical sciences and clinical training.
“Coursera has 3.4 million users in the Middle East out of approximately 70 million learners worldwide”
The shifting of the Middle East towards Online Learning can be evidenced in a number of ways.
The last couple of years have seen the birth of universities specifically set up for online learning such as Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University.
Syrian Virtual University and University of Liverpool/Laureate have been developing their visibility as a provider of online degrees.
The UAE 2020 Education Vision argued for a need to update the curriculum and pedagogical methods using technology.
Since the start of the COVID – 19 pandemic, there has been a huge spike in the interest in online courses and degree programs from the Middle East. The radical change in the number of users of online learning platforms is the testimony that the pandemic ended up being a turning point for online education. Tutors who had never considered web-based instruction previously embraced online tutoring after the pandemic as it was the only alternative.
Due to the several instructional values of going online, many tutors and learners said they would never go back to traditional education means. Below listed are some stats proving the changing dynamics towards online learning in the Middle East:
A Jordan-based provider of free online courses in Arabic, Edraak served 1 million new learners from the start of the pandemic. The platform now serves 4 million learners in total.
Coursera, a U.S.-based provider of online courses and programs from well-known universities, said that since mid-March 2020, it saw a 500 percent increase in learners from the Middle East compared to the same period last year.
FutureLearn, a British company offering similar online courses, also reports a 500-percent increase in participation from the Middle East region.
Officials from edX say its enrollments from the Middle East have gone up more than 200 percent since the start of the pandemic.
Key Players of the Middle East in the Online Learning Industry
The support from the government in the Middle East has allowed the startups to speed up their growth. Here are the top online tutoring startups that are dominating the Middle East region:
3asafeer: Founded in 2014 by Amr Abu-Hmeidan, this startup offers a digital library of stories, interactive video sessions, online worksheets, and educational games for children. The material on the platform is categorized according to age and level of difficulty. The annual turnover of the company is 1.6 million AED.
Abdajiyat: This is a language learning platform for kids to learn the Arabic language. The platform delivers language learning lessons in a fun and interactive way for in-school and at-home practice. Abdajiyat has a turnover of $6 million per annum.
Almentor.net: This is an eLearning platform in UAE for professionals looking for motivational videos, soft skills training, parental and relationship management, courses on entrepreneurship, and much more. The content on the platform is delivered in Arabic and English language. The startup has raised $4.5 million to date.
Joining the League
Clearly, launching an online tutoring business in the Middle East is a lucrative opportunity. And, a turnkey solution with advanced features to build an online tutoring platform is the first thing required to start an online tutoring business in the Middle East. Yo!Coach, an online tutoring software is an ideal solution to build a marketplace around online learning and coaching. With a broad gamut of features and the ability to customize, this software caters to a wide range of business requirements.
Feature Highlights of Yo!Coach
Having a successful online tutoring business in the Middle East also requires ensuring that your business stands out from the competition. Having the right set of features integrated into your online tutoring system not only makes it easy for the learners and teachers to use it but also makes sure you achieve your business goals.
Yo!Coach offers the following set of features for an online tutoring marketplace.
Easy to Use Interface: An online tutoring website should have an interface that is easy to use. Yo!Coach allows users to navigate through the platform with ease. As these platforms require teachers to conduct video sessions and create lesson plans, Yo!Coach provides ease of use for them since the tutors in the Middle East are still getting used to new technology.
Virtual Interaction: Virtual interaction between the learners and teachers with built-in features like video conferencing, whiteboard, textpad, code editor, real-time message translation, etc. enhances the learning as well as the teaching experience. Yo!Coach enables teachers to virtually interact with the learners and deliver the lessons efficiently. Virtual interaction also allows the teachers to share screens, documents, and audio/video notes for the effective functioning of the platform.
Review/Rating: To build the system more transparent, the review/rating feature by Yo!Coach allows learners to rate and review the tutors after the successful completion of the session. The feedback displayed on the profile of the tutors helps other learners in the Middle East to make an informed decision.
Multilingual/MultiCurrency: To transcend the geographic borders, Yo!Coach allows the system to support multiple languages and currencies to run successfully in countries other than UAE. This not only increases the user base but also significantly boosts the revenue of the platform.
Multiple Payment Methods: The online tutoring platform should have multiple payment methods integrated into it to make it easy for the learners to make the payment. Yo!Coach allows the business owners to have multiple payment methods like Authorize.net, Stripe, PayPal making it easy for the businesses in the Middle East to increase conversions and sales.
Geolocation: By automatically detecting the location and selecting the respective time zone, Yo!Coach makes it easy for the tutors and learners to mark availability and book sessions. Location-based time also eliminates the time coordination hassle and confusion among the tutors and learners residing in different time zones.
Device Compatibility: Since smartphones and tablets hugely impact our lives in the prevailing times, providing the flexibility to learn and teach via mobile devices is a must-have feature. Yo!Coach allows business owners to be able to deliver content on all devices for a hassle-free learning and tutoring experience.
Gift Cards/Coupons: This alluring feature of Yo!Coach attracts more clients and improves brand visibility in the Middle East market. It helps to extend the value of the platform and drives a significant amount of traffic to the website.
Successful Tutoring Platforms in the Middle East Powered by Yo!Coach
Yo!Coach has already helped a number of businesses in the Middle East to launch their tutoring platforms. Here is a list of popular tutoring platforms powered by Yo!Coach:
Cloud Tutors: This is an online learning platform to connect students with outstanding tutors. Facilitating the video chat functionality, the platform strives to create a platform that benefits both students and teachers.
Verbal Heroes: This platform enables learners to connect with the teacher of their choice through video calling at a time suitable to both. The platform offers academic tutoring, IELTS coaching, and corporate training to professionals.
Trusity: Catering to a broad range from life skills, language learning to exam preparation, this platform offers live programs to contribute to a learner’s holistic development.
Online Tutoring is here to stay for a long time and grow tremendously in the Middle East as well as around the globe. The competition has just started to get tough and the industry still remains unexplored in terms of features and functionalities. Launching a fully-featured online tutoring platform is the only key to success for entrepreneurs who are planning to step into this industry.