The UAE is an oasis for higher learning

UAE OasisBy Ishtiaq Ali Mehkri for Khaleej Times

The UAE is rapidly becoming a bastion of higher education and excellence in the region. It goes to its credit that the country is home to some of the excellent institutes and one of the best professional curriculums in the world. It has a wide range of universities in public and private sectors. Primarily, it can be classified into three sections: public, private, and global partnerships. This is where the UAE makes a difference, as its stringent regulations coupled with a liberal investment and visa policy has made it one of the sought-after destinations for higher education. The UAE has a number of international franchises on its soil, and they have their own campus and faculty that cater to the needs of a growing number of students.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has a foolproof cobweb of learning methods, which goes on to ensure that the process of accreditation, licensing, curriculum, faculty and degree awarding meets the highest acknowledged standards. The government is one of the biggest investor and stakeholder in the higher learning process. The country allocates around 25 per cent of its federal spending on education, which is by no means a small task. The intention is to promote the UAE's standard of life and groom the nation to a competing world. Moreover, the UAE is the dream of the Arab world, which is why the country makes sure that universal education is attained for its nationals, and is home to all possible avenues of higher learning, research and development.

Soon after its inception in 1971, the leadership had set its eyes on providing the best possible higher education to its citizens. In 1976, the United Arab Emirates University was established in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi. It was one of the pioneer institutes to kick-start research and development in the higher echelons of learning for both nationals and expatriates. Since then there was no looking back for the UAE. Higher education faculties in science, medicine, literature, banking, technology, fine arts and business studies abound all around. One of the most outstanding achievements of the young country has been to set up the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training, which is linked with multinational companies to provide training in professional development to hundreds and thousands of aspirants in their relevant fields. The UAE believes in equal opportunities for all and is one of the first Arab and Muslim countries to promote female education. Today women are at the vanguard in all walks of life, and are heading many of the government departments and cabinet portfolios. This is an instant outcome of higher learning process in the country.

The concept of global partnership with renowned academic institutions of the world has enriched the UAE's mosaic of higher education. From academic institutions of excellence in the U.S. to India, and Europe and Far East Asia, all have their presence in the UAE offering various degree and specialisation courses. The benchmark of the UAE's success and credibility is that it has made tireless efforts to maintain the standard of curriculum, faculty and on-campus facilities, making them state-of-the-art and best on the doorstep for people living and working here. The Dubai International Academic City and several such enclaves in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and elsewhere make it a hub for brainstorming and global competitiveness. The way the UAE has upheld quality of education through its uncompromising regulatory bodies, and the standard that it has set for international faculty is laudable, and put a feather in its cap.

Likewise, the UAE has more than 600 international schools, which provide it with a bigger pool of students and resource persons in its pursuit of excellence. With the country home to more than 200 nationalities and an enterprising global society in its midst, it has one of the most articulate and professional higher learning process in vogue. So is the case with investment in Research and Development. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and the Ruler of Dubai, believes in tripling investments in R&D over the next many years and boost the national workforce by 185,000. The essence is in building a knowledge-based economy, and to capitalise on it in times to come.

UAE leadership desires to place education among top priorities

UAEUEmirates News Agency (WAM)

Dr. Ali Rashid Al Noaimi, Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University, UAEU, has stressed the desire of the country’s leadership to place education at the top of its cultural renaissance priorities at a UAEU retreat in Dubai.

The brainstorming retreat discussed the future vision and strategic plan of UAEU’s continuing development, in accordance with the UAE’s national agenda to place education as one of its top priorities to adopt an advanced education system based on research and innovation, and to contribute to sustainable development and a knowledge-based economy.

Al Noaimi confirmed that rapid developments require preparing future generations to be equipped with new and various tools, and knowledge and skills, enabling them to achieve success in an entirely different world from the one today.

He also called for an emphasis on science, engineering and advanced technology programmes, as well as national and positive values.

The retreat was attended by Dr. Mohamed Al Bialy, University Director, members of the university’s boards, deans of faculties, members of its faculties’ consultative councils, as well as its strategic partners from the public and private sectors.

The retreat reviewed the main trends that contribute in shaping higher education in the UAE, as well as future labour market trends within the framework of the nation’s ambition plan, UAE Centennial 2071.

 

UAE Space Agency partners with 8 major universities

space

Trade Arabia News Service

The UAE Space Agency has signed MoUs with eight prominent UAE universities in order to support the space sector through collaboration in space science, education, research, technology and applications.

These include the University of Sharjah, Zayed University, American University of Sharjah, Khalifa University, American University of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates University, New York University Abu Dhabi, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

The MoUs provide a formal framework for engagement between the Agency and individual academic institutions.

As per the new agreements, the Space Agency and its new partner institutions will develop and activate space research centres and innovative space education programs.

The institutions will work with the Space Agency to jointly identify suitable research and education projects of mutual interest. Finally, the MoUs also cover collaboration in regards to the implementation of directives or initiatives emanating from the UAE’s National Space Policy.

Dr Khalifa Al Romaithi, the chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said: "These are in line with the foremost goals of the UAE Space Agency. By collaborating with academic institutions within the UAE we will be supporting the space sector, promoting scientific research and innovation, and directly engaging with students in order to inspire them to think about space, technology, and their role in building the future of our country."

Dubai International Academic City seeks to Increase Enrolment of Chinese Students to its Education Hub

ministryOfHigherEducationBy Arabia Higher Ed Staff

As part of its continued efforts to promote Dubai as a leading global destination for higher education, Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), Dubai’s key education hub, concluded a four day visit to Beijing and Xi’an to participate in the Chinese International Education Exhibition Tour (CIEET).

This marks DIAC’s fourth year of participation in CIEET, one of the largest exhibitions in the field of international education in China. CIEET, endorsed by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, provides a platform for Chinese students and parents to assess the latest information about studying abroad and develops channels for universities and institutions to introduce their quality education resources and opportunities.

Since its inception, approximately 2,000 universities and institutions from more than 50 countries and regions have participated in the exhibition and showcased their educational opportunities to over 1 million Chinese students and parents.

DIAC’s participation in CIEET is timely as Dubai and China continue to forge greater collaboration in higher education as part of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which aims to deepen China’s infrastructural, economic, institutional and cultural connectivity with key parts of the globe. In October 2016, an agreement, signed by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai and the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE), outlined that degrees earned by Chinese students in Dubai will be verified by CSCSE and the Ministry of Education in China, paving the way for Chinese students to obtain degrees from top Dubai based institutions.

In recent years, Dubai has become an attractive choice for a rising number of Chinese students who are seeking international experience from world-class universities. The rise of International Branch Campuses (IBC’s) has allowed students to receive recognised degrees from leading American, English and Australian universities, without having to travel to the home country’s campus. This, coupled with the ease of obtaining student visas compared to the aforementioned countries, is one of the key indicators for the 83 per cent increase of Chinese students at DIAC universities from 2013 to 2015.

According to a report launched by DIAC in partnership with Aon Hewitt, as many as 85 percent of students plan to look for job opportunities in the UAE upon graduation due to course satisfaction, preparation for private sector careers and a competitive labour market, especially in light of the upcoming Dubai Expo 2020.

As part of its student recruitment efforts in China, DIAC have also partnered with China Study Abroad Portal, a first for the education hub. Study Abroad China is an online platform which introduces international education institutes to Chinese students and parents. It is the first professional one-stop web site dedicated to providing comprehensive information on studying abroad to Chinese transnational students.

US is best for Emiratis looking to study abroad

CareerUAE2015By Roberta Pennington for the National

Choosing to travel to the United States for his post-secondary education was a no-brainer for Saad Hamoodi.

Not only would he be following in his father’s footsteps, but having studied in an American private school all his life, Mr Hamoodi was familiar and comfortable with the curriculum.

"I graduated with the American system, so I’ve always been closer to that," said the 26-year-old Emirati.

When it came time for him to choose a university, without hesitation Mr Hamoodi opted to leave the UAE for Northeastern University in Boston.

"Me, as a national born and raised in Abu Dhabi, I’ve grown up here and I’ve been surrounded by this comfortable, homey environment where everything is pretty much set and ready for you and you have the comforts of your home, your family, just all the services. I wanted to kind of step out of that comfort zone and see what the world has to offer," he said.

Like Mr Hamoodi, a growing number of Emiratis are choosing to enter college or university in the US over other English-speaking countries.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, 2,920 Emiratis enrolled in colleges and universities across the US – the highest number to date, according to the latest Open Doors report published last month by the Institute of International Education (IIE) with support from the US department of state’s bureau of educational and cultural affairs. The figure represents a 300 per cent increase compared to those of 10 years ago, when only 978 Emiratis studied in post-secondary schools in the US during the 2005-2006 academic year.

No information from the IIE was available about which colleges or courses Emirati students opted for.

"It is a very, very popular destination, there is no two ways about it," said Sanjeev Verma, director of Intelligent Partners, which has been counselling students in the UAE about international schools since 2000.

"They just love America, it’s just a cultural thing. I think they find it easier to blend in, and the country is much bigger – and they love California."

The number of Emirati students in the US peaked in the 2000-2001 academic year, when 2,659 enrolled in colleges and universities. But, after the September 11, 2001 attacks, numbers shrank annually to a low of 885 in 2006.

Since then, the student population has been on a steady rebound in US post-secondary institutions.

But in other English-speaking countries, the Emirati student count has been either falling or holding steady. Since 2004, the Emirati post-secondary student population in the UK climbed to a peak of 1,195 in 2008-2009, but has since declined to 955 in 2014-2015, according to the latest data from the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency.

It has remained stable in recent years, holding at between 1,030 students and 955 students.

"The UK has always been popular with Emiratis and the number has remained relatively stable in recent years, with growth from other nationalities in line with the overall growth and development of the UAE population as a whole," said Gavin Anderson, country director for British Council UAE.

Taking into account expatriates living in the UAE who enrol in UK colleges or universities – a cohort known as UAE domicile students – the figures are higher. In the 2014-2015 academic year, 3,410 students from the UAE – including locals and expatriates – travelled to study in the UK, according to Hesa.

"This number has been steadily rising for several years," said Mr Anderson.

In Australia, the number of Emiratis in higher education reached a high of 1,205 in 2010, but has steadily decreased to 485 last year, according to the Australian government’s department of education and training international student enrolment data for higher education and vocational education and training.

Canada has the smallest number of Emirati students in its colleges and universities. In 2015, only 75 Emiratis were enrolled in universities and five were studying in the country’s colleges, according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education. The CBIE could only provide data on Emirati enrolment from 2008, when a high of 135 Emiratis were registered in Canada’s universities.

Peter Davos, founder and managing director of Hale Education, a UAE-based consulting firm focused on counselling college bound international students, said flexibility in the curriculum and scholarship funding are "the driving factors why Emiratis study in the US".

"Students can pursue a variety of academic interests and do not have do formally declare their major until the end of their second year of study," said Mr Davos. "Also, there are 3,500 institutions of higher learning in the United States, many of which have tremendous financial resources, which translates into better research facilities, higher paid professors, more and richer extracurricular offerings. In Canada and Australia, there is one university in each country with an endowment of over US$1 billion. In the UK, there are 4. In the US, there are over 75. No other country’s universities can compete with the financial strength of American universities."

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