The United Arab Emirates has launched a “Study in UAE” campaign to attract more students to its higher education offerings.
The Emirates are currently recognised first and foremost for its TNE offering, but this new program hopes to build the reputation for the nation’s ‘home-grown’ institutions as well as the destination’s attractiveness as a location for exchange mobility.
The Ministry of Education announced the plan in early 2019, but made clear that it is part of a wider policy – the UAE 2022 Vision – and would be a continuing program for the nation, rather than a one-year marketing strategy. The ministry added that at least £2bn has already been allocated to the strategy for this calendar year alone.
The policy was launched in collaboration with seven Emirati HEIs (Khalifa University, Zayed University, Higher Colleges of Technology, Sharjah University, Zayed University, Ajman University, Abu Dhabi University, and Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University) and one foreign branch campus: Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.
Speaking with The PIE News, Undersecretary to the minister for planning and development in Higher Education, Samer Alsamahi made clear the rankings of these institutions was important to the Ministry, and was one reason behind the new marketing push.
“UAE has around 75 accredited universities, and… we have around 8 in global rankings. This is an achievement for UAE,” he said. “Plus the government of Abu Dhabi has started to attract international branches, like NYU or la Sorbonne, and those are partnerships between the university and the government to attract the students and the research,” Alsamahi added.
The undersecretary also pointed out the breadth of the campaign, declaring there was “there is not one venue to put all the efforts towards one objective”, adding that “I want new countries to know about the opportunities available”. This means recruitment outside of the Gulf region or the Indian subcontinent, The PIE understands.
He also noted diversity in the type of mobile period students undertake in the UAE is another goal of the strategy. Although the majority are currently studying full programs in the country, Alsamahi is keen to see more exchange students arrive in the Emirates for one or even two semesters.
“The classic fully-fledged student spends 4/5 years in UAE, this is very important, but having exchange students to come for one or two semesters, to mingle, to see the place, to meet people, to create connections, this is also one of the focuses on the program,” he told The PIE.