Demand for specialty universities is rising

Kelly Clarke /Dubai Filed on October 11, 2016
Demand for specialty universities is rising

(From left) Walter Ruck, President of Modul University; Dr Abdulla Al Karam and Zaid Maleh during the inauguration of the Modul University that specialises in hospitality and tourism courses, in Dubai on Monday. - Photo by Mohammad Mustafa Khan

Zaid Maleh

Ahmed Bin Sulayem

The Jumeirah Lakes Towers-based campus is a branch of Austria's top international private university, founded in 1908

As enrolment in university branch campuses continues to grow in Dubai, 108 students have just started studies as part of the first cohort of 2016, at the emirate's latest educational offering: Modul University Dubai.

Specialising in tourism and hospitality, the Jumeirah Lakes Towers-based campus is a branch of Austria's top international private university, founded in 1908.

With a capacity of 500 students, the 108 already enrolled come from 32 different countries - 20 per cent of which are overseas students.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said: "The student diversity here is impressive and I am happy to see such a campus open in Dubai."

Speaking about the growth of the education sector in Dubai, he added: "Investing in universities will help us build the software and manpower for a stronger economy." The 25,000 square feet campus at One, JLT, will offer degree programmes (BBA, BSc, MBA) in international management, new media technology, and tourism & hospitality management.

Niche education opening up

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr Karam said this is just the start of more specialty universities coming to Dubai. "I think, in the past, we have been averaging about a 12 per cent growth in university students in Dubai, but I expect that to grow. The Expo is the drive behind this growth."

But why is there a focus on specialty universities? "We are seeing more niche universities come up, so I think that will be the focus for the future. We are finding students need that boutique experience," he said.

Warren Fox, Executive Director of the Higher Education for KHDA, said the university opening was "very timely with the upcoming Expo 2020".

Talking about the growth of university branch campuses here, Fox told Khaleej Times there are a couple of factors driving this.

"One is the growth of Dubai itself. This will continue till 2020 and beyond, but there is also a growing mix of expatriates coming to Dubai specifically to study and increase their work opportunities."

Modul University is a subsidiary of Dubai Investments PJSC. On Monday, Zaid Maleh, ManagingDirector of the Dubai camwpus, said he was proud to be a part of this historic milestone.

"This university offers a unique model in higher education, with a strong focus on hospitality and tourism sectors. It will open up exciting career avenues in today's knowledge economy, particularly in the region."


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Kelly Clarke

Originally from the UK, Kelly Clarke joined Khaleej Times in November 2012. She has a keen interest in humanitarian issues and took over as the dedicated Education Reporter in August 2016. In her spare time she loves to travel off the beaten track, and often write about her quirky experiences of pastures new. Kelly received her BA Honours in Journalism from Middlesex University, UK in 2008. Before joining Khaleej Times she worked as a Supervising Editor for three Healthcare titles in London. @KellyAnn_Clarke

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