UAE universities report rise in enrolments, enquiries from around the world

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on February 22, 2021
File photo

Students are selecting varsities closer to their homes as online classes become new normal

Universities across the UAE are reporting an uptick in enquiries and enrolments especially from Europe, Middle East and North Africa (Emena) region and West African countries this year, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the overseas study plans of several pupils.

In most UAE universities, the admission season starts around this time of year and continues till August. Many aspiring undergraduate pupils are selecting universities closer to their homes, or in adjoining cities, where they have extended families.

Online classes have several intrinsic benefits, and many pupils are reluctant to spend huge amounts of money and live in a distant foreign country amid the pandemic.

Dr Vajahat Hussain, chief executive officer (CEO) of Amity Education, Middle East, said: “We conducted our first open day this past weekend. The response was overwhelming. In the UAE, we have access to a range of resources. It is undoubtedly the safest and best place to stay during a pandemic. We’re winning over the Covid-19 challenge, as the majority of the UAE residents have received their jabs.”

He added, “There has been an exponential rise in the number of enquiries received from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, Asia and Africa. We’re looking forward to welcoming more pupils in September. There’s likely to be a 50 per cent surge in enrolments this year.”

Many pupils, who are enroled in universities in the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US), cannot attend classes on the campus because of the Covid-19-induced travel restrictions. Remote learning is the only available option for these institutions.

Dr Vikas Nand Kumar Batheja, co-founder & director, Capital University College, Sharjah, said: “The region has been a great support for building and nurturing international partnerships. The UAE has emerged as an ideal educational hub for both domestic and international pupils because of Brexit. We’ve successfully curated over 6,800 hours of content via our online learning platform that can be accessed instantaneously.”

He added: “We’ve recorded a 400 per cent rise in admissions after the online classes were rolled out due to the viral outbreak. We’re flooded with enquiries from students from western Africa such as Nigeria, the Indian subcontinent and several other African nations.”

Many pupils from the UAE, who are pursuing their higher studies in the UK and the US at a prohibitive cost, have not been able to attend their on-campus classes because of the contagion and are forced to undergo virtual learning lessons.

Covid-19 has highlighted the accelerated changes in ways of delivering inclusive quality education.

The pandemic has demonstrated the need of universities to distribute learning across geographies and populations more broadly and immediately.

Dr Karim Chelli, president and vice-chancellor (V-C), Canadian University Dubai, said, “The health and safety measures that were administered, in line with the nation’s discipline and rigour, have provided a means of support for the UAE’s higher education landscape by equipping academic institutions, with the tools necessary to build and maintain a safe and secure learning environment for all. This strategy has enabled us to further foster sustainable growth and development, increasing our enrolment and providing more students with access to quality Canadian education in the Middle East.”

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