Key to unlocking holistic progress

In the midst of its Golden Jubilee year, the UAE is also celebrating the massive achievement of providing a world-class education to its residents and citizens for fifty years

By Nisthula Nagarajan

Published: Wed 31 Mar 2021, 6:01 AM

Last updated: Wed 31 Mar 2021, 8:05 AM

The UAE is an education pioneer in the Arab world. It has embraced and acknowledged the important role it plays in stabilising a nation. From rustic schools with minimum infrastructure to technologically-advanced classrooms fitted with smart boards, education in the UAE has come a long way. In 2021, education is seen as the tool by which future generations can guide and transform society.

One of these change-makers is Ascentria, a multi-award-winning institute committed to preparing Indian curriculum students for highly competitive Indian entrance exams for premier engineering and medical colleges. Its students have gained admission to top colleges across the globe every year since its inception. ?Ascentria achieved this by customising its programmes for Gulf students, providing pastoral care, emphasising every student's progress, personalised doubt sessions, and focussing on the achievement of students' goal.

With sprawling university campuses, and continuously updated courses, an increased focus on technology and a more concentration on student well-being, growth in the education sector has matched the rapid pace of the UAE's development.

At the World Government Summit in 2017, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai said: "The first priority is education, second is education, and third is education. "

Aligned with this and the national vision of developing future-ready Emirati talent, Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies offers world-class training to Emirati students to ensure continuous professional development in critical areas of banking and finance. Its bachelor and diploma programmes have been introduced to address the need for local expertise within the financial services sector.

A key tool for achieving Vision 2021 is the National Strategy for Innovation launched in 2014 by Sheikh Mohammed, which aims to make the UAE one of the most innovative countries in the world by stimulating innovation in key sectors, one of them being education. The strategy will establish innovation labs in schools and universities as part of a drive to equip students with targeted skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, perseverance and an ability to adapt.

Today, the quality of the UAE's higher education ranks among the top 20 globally. The UAE is home to a number of top-ranking global universities and offers both on-campus and off-campus ?degree options.

Sally Jeffery, Global Education and Skills Network Leader at PwC, said: "Higher education has seen interesting shifts, both globally and in the region. Students are shifting towards destinations that not only offer quality education, but more attractive employment and residency options as well. The UAE's latest student visa reforms and inflow of reputable higher education institutions are steps in the right direction."

In this regard, the London American City College (LACC), known for providing the best American and European Education to students from around the world, has produced thousands of future business leaders and star managers. Touted as one of the best student-preferred business education providers in the Middle East region, LACC has achieved over 90 per cent employability rate with more than 10,000 alumni around the world.

With every graduating class, students' knowledge, skills, adaptability and sensitivity become nimbler. The future is here, with many classrooms becoming an amalgam of both traditional teaching ethics and values with modern technology learning tools and delivery methods. As the world passes through a phase of a relatively uncertain future, UAE education institutions, adapted quickly both with technology and affordability. Murdoch University Dubai has recently announced a significant adjustment to its course fees for 2021 in response to the ongoing financial burden caused by the pandemic. The university will reduce its course fees for the Dubai campus for both new and returning students across all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes for its May and September 2021 intakes, while maintaining its high-quality standard of education.

There is a principled effort to develop the education ecosystem in the UAE, from the establishment of the first university in 1976, United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, to today, where there are more than 65 reputed local and international universities in the country.

What we see today in the UAE is an extremely matured educational ecosystem. Fast progressing into a knowledge-based economy, this is only going to grow further, thus establishing UAE as the hub of higher education in the region.

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