The Education System in the Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities

The Education System in the Middle East and the rise of eLearning prior to the pandemic

According to the statistics acquired by the United Nations, the Covid-19 pandemic caused unprecedented disruption to the education system worldwide that was never seen in its history. It affected nearly 1.6 billion learners across more than 190 countries all around the world. The closure of schools and learning spaces had a great negative impact on 94% of the world’s student population, 99% of which are in low and lower-middle income countries, including the Middle East and Africa. All levels of education and training have been affected, not only schools. Immediate action had to be taken to prevent this learning crisis from becoming a generational catastrophe and this brings us to eLearning.

The academic situation in Saudi Arabia due to Covid-19.


Up until the pandemic began, academic institutions had a history of pushing back against online learning. The concept of eLearning has come a long way from the early 1960’s when the first computer based training program was introduced, which was not accepted until it became centric in people's lives and a true means of survival for the educational services sector and companies during 2020.

Covid-19's impacts can be felt all over the world, and is having an obvious influence on the technology market. From a positive perspective, the disruption has accelerated the growth of online education, which is how eLearning has risen to the top of the list of booming industries for 2021. In fact, according to the analysis of Market Insight Solutions, the software segment(in particular educational technology)is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20.3% between 2021 to 2027 with an estimated reach of 142.2 billion, on a global scale.

​We have seen innovation within the educational sector in terms of distance learning solutions and approaches thanks to the quick responses by governments and institutions. This has proven 100% that distance communication is possible, and anyone can graduate through a computer, even if the professors are miles and miles away.

Until the end of 2020 and the first 3 months of 2021, some schools and other institutions started to fully reopen their campuses and others are shifting towards blended learning. However, with the current Covid-19 situation that is only getting worse throughout the world, they have to completely shut down again. That is why the education sector aims for complete shifting to eLearning or blended learning, they need a successful eLearning platform which always needs to be updated with the latest learning trends and to be localised.

What does this mean to local governments and businesses?

First; investments! The education sector has witnessed a rise in investing in the education sector. The UAE Government for example has announced an expected spend of AED 10 Billion on the Education sector through 2021. Most of this spend would be on:

-Providing computers and supplies for students and teachers to aid in eLearning
-Updating or creating effective eLearning platforms and content
-Delivering targeted training for teachers on effective eLearning and assessment
-Ensuring that all teachers and students are equipped with suitable devices for eLearning
-Ensuring that both teachers and students have access to a secure internet connection
-Developing alternate forms of instruction for students who do not have access to the internet

Second, Business growth opportunity

The Global eLearning Market is projected to rise from USD 90.67 Billion in 2019 to USD 249.95 Billion by the end of 2025, according to ReportLinker. The facts and figures show that the audience have never been greater. Learning and acquiring new skills will always be an important road to success. Before the pandemic, people would rather attend a class or a session physically. Some people believed that the online classes limited back and forth interaction so that would limit their benefits. But Covid-19 eventually led to acceptance of remote learning. This definitely allowed for advertising for businesses who provide online courses. For instance, offering part of their services for free as a teaser to advertise the content they have to offer.

Also, with the rise of eLearning during the pandemic came the rising of instructional design services. This online shift left many instructors trying to figure out how to teach their students digitally and that is why, all of a sudden, instructional designers became the online community builders, without them accessible distance learning wouldn’t have been possible at this pace.

Third, Globalization opportunity!

With the mixed educational systems in the Middle East, the need of a multilingual content and Learning Management Systems (LMS) is increasing as well. The localization impact on the education reform is primarily to increase the education relevance to local development and bring in community support and services, local cooperation, and collaboration in learning, teaching, and research Localization of eLearning is not only about translating it into a new language, but also about adapting to recipients from a different culture Technically and Linguistically.

Interested to know more about the Middle East Market?

Saudisoft has already helped eLearning businesses with its localization and translation solutions across the Middle East and Africa. Our eLearning localization services and technical capabilities will help you reach your target audience, wherever they possibly are.
Book your consultation with us and we will help you find out and meet your requirements and get localized, globally.