Dubai- March 26, 2012: University enrolment has risen by 10% in Dubai and by 18% in Dubai Free Zones, bringing the total number of tertiary students in the emirate to 43,212, according to the Higher Education Landscape in Dubai 2011 report, released today by the Human and Knowledge Development Authority (KHDA). Heads of 20 universities in Dubai met to mark the release of the report and discuss the growth in enrolment.
UAE nationals make up the majority of those enrolled at Dubai’s universities, comprising 43 per cent of the total student body, an increase of 11%, according to the report. They are followed by students from Asia and the Middle East. The number of Emirati students is likely to grow in the Free Zones with the introduction of Resolution 21, a decree passed by the Dubai government which recognises KHDA as the governing body authorised to certify academic qualifications from private institutions in the economic zones for use in public sector employment in Dubai, among other purposes.
Dr Warren Fox, Chairman of the University Quality Assurance International Board (UQAIB) and Executive Director of Higher Education at KHDA said: “This is a landmark decision. It’s a forward-reaching step which recognises degrees and identifies KHDA as the regulator of higher education in Dubai.” This decision will encourage more Emirati nationals to enrol at international universities in the Free Zones, he continued. “We expect to see an increase in the number of Emirati enrolments as a result of the decree.”
The decision comes just three years after the establishment of UQAIB, the quality assurance body responsible for ensuring that programmes offered by international universities in Dubai meet the standards of their home campuses. In granting this decree, the government has “recognised the work KHDA is doing to consolidate Dubai’s position as the hub for higher education, in this region and beyond,” Dr Fox said.
Dubai must diversify its programme offering to meet its strategic objectives and the needs of the labour market, the report stated. Thirty nine per cent of higher education programmes are in the field of business, followed by information technology and engineering. Dubai’s increasing population, however, is creating a demand for healthcare, education and transportation sector professionals.
“We are open to more quality programmes that meet Dubai’s strategic objectives and the labour market,” said Dr Fox. “We also need to encourage more university research – this is a key area of development in Dubai.”
Other statistics outlined by the report include:
- 52 per cent of higher education programmes offered in Dubai are at Bachelor’s degree level, followed by 33 per cent at Master’s level.
- The number of overall graduates increased by 5 per cent compared to the 2008-2009 academic year, while the number of male graduates increased by 8 per cent.
- 60 per cent of higher education institutions operate within Dubai’s Free Zones, 34 per cent are located outside the Free Zones, and 6 per cent are federal entities.
- 56 per cent of graduates in Dubai are male.