WENR, October 2008: Middle East
Region’s First Polytechnic Opens
The Bahrain Polytechnic began operations in September with an initial enrollment of 240 students, making it the only polytechnic to be established within the Gulf region, according to Eye on Dubai.
The new institution is offering a wide selection of two- and four year diploma and bachelor’s programs in applied industry-focused vocational education, giving students professional skills aligned with market needs. These programs include business studies, accounting, finance, marketing, advertising, management and economics, international business, IT, civil and mechanical engineering, and health sciences.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Economic Development Board, said: “The Bahrain Polytechnic addresses the pressing skills gap currently in the GCC. Graduates of the facility will be equipped to provide a range of technical skills to support our diverse economy such as Bahrain’s booming manufacturing sector. We are proud to host the only Polytechnic in the GCC which shows Bahrain”s continued commitment to, and leadership in, education and training.”
– Eye of Dubai
September 22, 2008
Regulator Allows Universities to Set Own Tuition Rates
Israel’s university regulator, the Council for Higher Education, announced in September that it will allow individual universities to set the fees they charge students for the upcoming academic year until the government passes legislation regulating tuition fees. Students have threatened to protest if fees go up.
Universities that choose to raise their tuition fees are expected to do so by NIS1,000 (US$290). The Finance Ministry called for a 6 percent increase in tuition for all government-funded universities.
September 16, 2008
Lebanese-German University Begins Classes
The Lebanese-German University (LGU), founded by the Lebanese German Association for the Promotion of Culture, a nonprofit organization, announced the launch of its educational programs in its opening ceremony in September.
The private university has been working to obtain a university license over a number of years. Once attained, the institution quickly developed into a fully equipped campus with state of the art buildings and facilities, according to The Star newspaper. The new university encourages student-exchange programs with German institutions of higher education and collaborates with Witten Herdecke, Zeppelin and Leipzig universities in Germany.
Although German-language classes will be offered, programs will primarily be conducted in French and English. According to LGU officials, programs and courses will be structured on the European Credit Transfer System to facilitate cooperation with European universities, and will offer internationally recognized degrees under three faculties: Public Health, Business and Insurance, and Arts.
– The Daily Star
September 22, 2008
Qatar University Forms Partnership with Major US State University
The new institute at Qatar’s national university will be among the first research units in the region to focus on conducting local social-science research. Michigan will provide technical and professional support to aid the new institute in conducting social and economic surveys that are specific to Qatari society as it develops.
The new institute will focus its research on changes in the region’s cultural values, in the structure and dynamics of the family, in local social values, and in the influence of the media. In addition, it aims to conduct economic research on the labor market and local commerce.
– The Gulf Times
September 17, 2008
Private College Upgraded to University Status
As part of the upgrading process, the college will open four new faculties. The Faculty of Health Sciences and Humanities will specialize in special education, nursing, and speech, hearing and occupational therapy. The Faculty of Law and International Relations will specialize in law, and diplomatic and international relations while the Faculty of Business and Economy will specialize in administrative information system, banking, financing, marketing, human resources and accounting. The Faculty of Design and Architecture will specialize in topics such as graphic design, interior design, dress design and architecture.
– Arab News
September 3, 2008
United Arab Emirates
Global School Chain to Increase Capacity in UAE by 20,000
With operations in countries around the world, Dubai-based Global Education Management Systems (Gems) announced recently that it is planning to provide 20,000 new school places in the United Arab Emirates, in addition to expanding its presence in South Africa. With operations in the United Kingdom, (11 schools) and India (6 schools), the school chain runs more than 75 schools globally and has a presence on three continents.
The US$408 million expansion will focus on Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and other emirates, where it already operates 25 schools with an enrollment of more than 70,000 students, or a 14 percent share of the total UAE secondary market. The company has also stated that it plans to significantly increase its international reach. The Gems mission is to become the “leading provider of education and learning management services” globally, according to Dino Varkey, senior director for business development at Gems. It is currently developing plans to open schools in South Africa, where the company already has a strong presence, and in other nations.
Gems is the single largest employer of British and Indian teachers outside the UK and India. Last fall, Gems branched into the public school sector in the UAE with a subsidiary company, School Improvement Partnership, which runs public-private partnership schools in Abu Dhabi. GEMS South Africa is currently undertaking feasibility studies for the development of two new private schools in Namibia and developing the first high volume/low cost school in South Africa.
The high volume/low cost model is based on a successful Gems model that has been implemented in other parts of the world. Gems South Africa believes that there is a gaping void in key strategic locations in South Africa for such private, not-for-profit schools, which it hopes to develop as a network of highly successful and prestigious schools throughout South Africa to assist in spearheading access to quality, affordable education.
– The National
July 24, 2008
Michigan State Opens Dubai Campus Amid Concerns About Student Preparedness
Michigan State University (MSU), one of the largest universities in the US, has opened a new campus in Dubai, joining a growing list of foreign universities with satellite branches in the Emirates; however, there is concern that applying students lack the necessary skills to succeed. The university, which had not marketed itself until February, has an enrollment of more than 50 at the moment, but is aiming for that number to grow to between 750 and 1,000 students in four years. The school offers master’s degrees in subjects such as retailing and human resources and labor relations, in addition to bachelor’s programs in, for example, computer engineering, construction management and early childhood education.
Students applying for places at MSU have inadequate skills in some subjects and the country must raise its education standards, the university’s chief academic officer said recently. Professor Kim Wilcox, provost of MSU, said students were leaving secondary school in the UAE with weak mathematics and English skills. Speaking on a visit to the MSU’s recently opened Dubai campus, Prof Wilcox suggested that the emirate’s educational achievements did not match its image worldwide.
“It’s unfortunate that in everything that Dubai represents, it is graduating a number of students from secondary education with such weak mathematic skills,” he said. “To an extent, the US is in the same situation, and we’re falling further and further behind and we have to raise the bar. It’s not finger-pointing. “If I was a citizen of Dubai, I would want my education to be great – students with the English and mathematics standards to attend a world-class university.” Prof Brendan Mullan, executive director of MSU Dubai, said the university would not lower its entry standards to let in more students. “We came to Dubai with a predetermined set of standards and we’re applying those standards and we’re not wavering with the students we’re admitting,” he said.
The comments by the two university chiefs coincided with a Ministry of Education announcement that it would introduce sweeping reforms aimed at improving standards in government schools, which will begin to focus on problem solving and creative thinking, in place of memorization. English lessons will be introduced in kindergartens. Performance standards will be brought in for each stage of the educational process, specifying, for example, the mathematical abilities students should have at each grade.
– The National
September 1, 2008
UK University Announces Opening of RAK Campus
The University of Bolton opened a campus in the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone in September. The campus will offer undergraduate and graduate courses in engineering, business, computing and art and design. Perhaps the most important program the university offers is its Master of Science in Project & Construction Management, considering the pace of development in the region.
– Bolton News Release
August 17, 2008
Dubai International Academic City Unveils Vetting Criteria for New Institutions Wishing to Set Up Shop
All institutions of education wishing to establish a campus at the Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) must meet criteria released this summer for consideration.
According to a DIAC press release, “DIAC’s newly formed academic committee is responsible for reviewing applications and assessing each submission based on various factors including an academic plan’s ability to strategically add value to DIAC’s overall program offerings, while meeting the demand of students and industry sectors across the region for specialized programs of study.” Additionally, “the academic and research standing of the university, quality of the faculty and administrative staff of the campus that will be based at the DIAC complex, as well as the financial status of the institution will also come under the committee’s scrutiny.”
In 2007, just 9.2 percent of the institutions that applied to establish campuses were accepted. A total of 54 applications were received, of which only five fulfilled all of DIAC’s criteria. Those institutions were Hult International Business School, Murdoch University International Study Centre Dubai, Michigan State University-Dubai; University of Phoenix; and the Postgraduate Management Institute of Sri Lanka.
In 2006, five institutions were accepted from a total of 36 applications. Among them were the Manchester Business School Worldwide (UK), the Institute of Management Technology (India), the University of Exeter (UK), SAE Institute (Australia), and Esmod, a French fashion institute providing a range of creative, technical and marketing programs.
There are currently more than 25 international universities of higher learning operating at DIAC from countries including the US, UK, Belgium, Iran, Russia, Australia, Sri Lanka, France, Pakistan and India, catering to over 10,000 students.
– DIAC News Release
August 2, 2008