Writer: Wafa Miqdad
Small has become the new big, even in education where UAE has joined the race in becoming the education hub of the Middle East and probably even for the rest of the world.
There was a time when big mattered. Big planes, big buildings, big computers, big phones, big countries, big universities. Big mattered because big was more efficient, more reliable, more powerful, more influential. ‘Get Big Fast’ was the motto of encouragement for all start-ups because big companies could go public, raise capital and become even bigger. Bigger universities with its big campuses based in the biggest countries of the world used the very notion of ‘big’ to attract students from all around the globe to their institutions.
UAE: education hub of Middle-east
But then UAE came, which changed the very definition of the term ‘big’. With an area of only 83,600km2, UAEdefinitely falls in the band of small countries, not only in comparison with the rest of the world but even in the boot shaped peninsula, commonly known as the Middle East. Yet, with a student population of over 120,000 and more than 150 universities and colleges, UAE has joined the heat in establishing itself as the education hub of the Middle East, Asia and even Africa. And I am a living witness to that very claim and statement.
When I took admission at Middlesex University, a branch campus of the UK based institution, I was overwhelmed to see the diverse cultures that made up the student body. I met students from all parts of the world, some who had especially come from Saudi Arabia, India, Iran, Pakistan, Oman, Nigeria, Philippines and even Russia just to study at the university. Some graduate students even drove from Oman weekly or two times a week to attend evening classes held at the university.
The university, in itself took and till today, takes great measures in providing these students with comfortable accommodations, transport to and from the university and even health insurance to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of the students. These services, however, are not just limited to this particular university but almost all university campuses adhere to the principle of giving their students the best in terms of education as well as comfort. The PR, advertising and marketing strategies of all these chapels of education in the UAE is identical, which is, the best input results in an even better output.
UAE houses almost 130 universities, 40% of which are branch campuses of universities based in USA, Canada, UK, Scotland, Australia, India, Pakistan and Iran. Apart from these there are many institutes and colleges that offer globally recognized MBA courses and internationally accredited diplomas like TESOL, CELTA, DELTA, EYFS, PGCE, Montessori, CPA, ACCA, etc. which attracts students from all over the world.
People from all walks, ages and nations are welcomed in the UAE, as long as they respect and honour some simple rules and codes set by law. Together with being a tourist destination, this Jack-of-all of a nation offers its visitors with some of the most exquisite and exotic sites for sightseeing, thousands of brands to shop until you drop, stylish restaurants to eat all you can, exciting activities to turn your life into a thrilling adventure and even jobs that allow you earn a living for yourself. It is the city that never sleeps and that never ceases to surprise its people and its visitors. Moreover, unlike USA, UK, Canada and Australia, UAE has the most straightforward and uncomplicated visa procedures giving students one less issue to worry about in their decision-making.
Un-rigid approach of UAE
However, one of the main reasons that has given UAE the chance to become one of the greatest envoys of education, is its un-rigid regulations towards it students. Unlike numerous universities in other nations which have standardized the very definition of education, demanding students of exceptionally high grades, extraordinary projects, atypical extracurricular activities, universities in the UAE offer flexibility to its students. Although, a noteworthy school record has its advantages, it is not an adamant requirement to get admission in a UAE based university. Students here are given the time and space to explore themselves, their potential, their limitations and their needs before they are expected to make a decision. Furthermore, university programs are designed in a blender, where practical projects are intertwined with intricate theories, allowing students to collaborate, explore, make mistakes, rectify them and find solutions to every obstacle that they encounter.
Students in the UAE are treated like humans instead of robots and machines, allowing them to be different, special and unique which gives both education and UAE the identity they deserve: diversity and differentiation.
Author of this article Wafa Miqdad was born and raised in the UAE, Wafa Miqdad is a talented writer. She studied Advertising, PR and Media at Middlesex University, Dubai and even pursued a CELTA. She moved to Canada last year with her husband.