Dubai: Coursera’s MENA outreach spells good news for developing human capital – News

Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of the leading American edtech company, outlines ambitious expansion plans for the region

Coursera's Chief Executive Officer during an interview with the Khaleej Times in Dubai

Coursera’s Chief Executive Officer during an interview with the Khaleej Times in Dubai

By Joydeep Sen Gupta

Released: Sun Oct 16, 2022 5:50 p.m

Last updated: Sun Oct 16, 2022 at 6:18 p.m

Jeff Maggioncalda, who joined Coursera in June 2017 as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said Khaleej Times during his recent trip to Dubai on how Coursera – America’s leading edtech company – “has expanded the spectrum of its courses from advanced data and analytics, cloud computing to psychology and social sciences”.

The pioneering edtech company has begun bringing on board industry partners, not just universities, for job-related training exercises.

“People who may not have a relevant degree or digital profile but can develop skills to remain relevant in the job market,” said an affable Maggioncalda.

“We have created industry micro-credentials for all young demographics, such as the Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Governments around the world are realizing they need to change their education policies to facilitate these online micro-credentials. Credentials built into education systems to make them accessible to all. This is a bold attempt to tap into the demographic boom and capitalize on an exuberant young population,” he said.

However, the greatest product differentiator for Coursera in a highly competitive edtech sector is its content, sourced from leading institutions, universities and industry partners from around the world.

For example, Maggioncalda recently signed agreements with the top ten Indian universities for content as South Asia’s most populous country looks to introduce a new education policy (NEP) starting next year. “This type of merger is a win-win situation for both universities and us as we offer world-class courses to learners around the world,” he added.

He is optimistic about growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

“We are working with the Abu Dhabi School of Government to ensure their public sector staff are retrained, upskilled and their human capital developed. We’ve worked from the Saudi Arabia National eLearning Center to Emirates NBD to G42 and FGB, which are among the largest institutions in the region,” he added.

Coursera’s growth over the years can be categorized as the first phase bringing educators to individuals between 2012 and 2014, followed by educators to institutions from 2014 onwards. Lately it’s connecting learners to jobs, which for a large part of the young population in developing countries represents a skill mapping.

The last approach serves the MENA region well.

Coursera had 4,095,795 registered learners in the MENA region through the end of December, a record 61 percent year-over-year growth

“The countries on the coast of the Arabian Gulf have an incredible opportunity to take the resources available, because it happened in the energy markets, and invest them in human capital,” Maggioncalda said while describing Coursera’s connection to the top 200 Universities in the world led across all disciplines.

The merger may prove a boon for the oil-rich region, which is investing heavily in the simultaneous creation of world-class physical infrastructure and human capital.


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