Dubai foundation helps over 100 Arabs attend university

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on May 21, 2021
Supplied photo

Scholarship will allow students to become the first generation in their families to attend university

Over 100 Arab students will become the first generation in their families to attend university, thanks to the scholarships given out by a Dubai based education foundation. The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) has awarded 255 scholarships to lesser privileged Arab youth who were unable to pursue higher education due to unaffordability.

With the pandemic making popularity of online learning to surge, the selected students - who are from 17 nationalities across the Arab region - will be getting a chance to pursue online master's degrees at United States’ Arizona State University (ASU) as part of the Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholars Program (OLSP).

The scholarships cover a range of programmes including engineering, technology, health, education, and sustainability, among others. These courses were specifically selected by AGFE for being in fields that are in high demand within the region, with the objective of bridging the knowledge and skill gaps which exist in the workforce today, allowing talent to grow and stay in the region.

Mona Youssef, a Palestinian and living in the UAE, is one of the students selected for the scholarship to complete her master’s degree in Biomedical Diagnostics. Mona hopes to use the degree to focus on research in the UAE and wider region to better support the Arab community. Speaking about her experience with online learning during the pandemic, Mona said: “I was able to discover new qualities about myself such as self-control and resilience, which enabled me to realize my goals, work for a better future and succeed as an online learner.”

“The success of our OLSP in partnership with ASU, continues to elevate the state of Arab youth in the region. We are really pleased to be welcoming another round of scholars and continue to lay down pathways that inspire young Arabs to pursue high quality online learning in the future. Having been advocates and supporters of high-quality online learning since 2017, we are fortunate to be in this position, ready to provide these opportunities to the underserved youth in these challenging times. Since the start of the global pandemic, we have seen a surge in demand for the online scholarship program and we are grateful to be able to help,” said Dr Sonia Ben Jaafar, CEO of AGFE said:

Having provided scholarships for online programmes with ASU for the past four years, the foundation has seen a sharp increase in demand since the onset of the pandemic, with the average number of applications received per round increasing by nearly 60 per cent.

The foundation is also helping regional universities improve their capacity towards scaling their online programmes, to meet the growing needs in the region and assure the advancement of online Arab higher education. The latest cohort will bring the total number of scholars enrolled as part of the OLSP to 550 since its launch in 2017.

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