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Niche Universities are the future of Dubai

by Gireesh Balan, Editor, Edubeanz

Dubai (UAE), 07 December 2016: Lack of sufficient students had forced many international universities to close its shutters in the past in UAE. But that does not mean a new university is unviable there. By successfully opened a branch campus in Dubai with an enrollment of 140 students for its very first programme, MODUL University from Austria has written a new story of success in UAE. The Modul University has taught us a new lesson- In higher education, the future lies in niche universities which cater to the real needs of UAE students.

Modul UniversityTourism is a silver lining

Tourism and Hospitality are the areas where MODUL University provides much focus in UAE. With regard to the higher education, the value for money is the new mantra followed by the students in UAE. Education which leads to better jobs is high in demand. It is believed that in tourism and hospitality sector, it is easy to land on a job from entry level to managerial level and grow up to Mid-managerial/senior Managerial Level. Modul university is having  unparalleled industry ties which will grant  students solid access to job placements and internships, students can also enjoy the university’s leading research platform through its long-standing academic relationships with top institutions worldwide for outstanding academic credentials. Dubai is going to host the next World Expo which happens between October 2020 and April 2021. Bringing together more than 180 nations and an international audience of 25 million visitors, it will be one of the greatest shows on earth. It is believed that this World Expo will make at least 10-15 lakhs of new employment and most of which will be in Tourism and Hospitality.

The recently started first batch of Modul University, Dubai is having over 100 students from 32 different nationalities, with 20 per cent students from overseas. The programmes run by the university at present are undergraduate and MBA degree programmes in Hospitality and Tourism management.

Specialty University is the way

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chair of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) who had participated in the inaugural function of the university implied about the new successful formula brewed by Modul University. “We are seeing more niche universities come up, so I think that will be the focus for the future. We are finding students need that boutique experience,”- he said.

He explained this is just the start of more speciality universities coming to Dubai. “I think, in the past, we have been averaging about a 12 percent growth in university students in Dubai, but I expect that to grow. The Expo is the drive behind this growth.”- he added.

Why did some International branch campuses (IBC) perish?

For the past many decades, the UAE had set aggressive goals to make it a destination for higher education. Of the countries which import foreign universities, the United Arab Emirates is the leading country with 40 branch campuses, while China has only 27, Singapore 14, Qatar 11 and Malaysia with nine.

In 2007, Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) started operations with 40 branch campuses of foreign universities. During this period, more than 50 foreign universities have set up shop in the Arab region – primarily in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. These branch campuses represent some of the top universities from around the world, including the University of Cambridge, Cornell University and University College London.

But when the initial enthusiasm is over, several branch campuses faced hard facts. Those who could not attract enough students to their programmes have forced to down their shutters. Some branch campuses shuttered programs within a few years of opening. The classic examples are George Mason University,  Michigan State University and the University of Waterloo etc. Peter Nathaniel Stearns, the provost of the George Mason University presented three problems for the closure and which were- slow enrollment growth, funding problems and disagreements with the Emirates government organisation that bankrolled the project. It is learnt that some more branch campuses are struggling due to various reasons. Financial non-viability due to the low enrollments that fell far short of the targets was the major reason for the closures. Students at the Dubai campus – who hail from the local region as well as the expats from countries such as India, Pakistan, China and African nations –are the main target for these universities. But most of the expatriates think the higher education in the branch campuses is unaffordable due to a high-level fee structure.

Modul University

But Modul University has infused a new hope and energy in the higher education sector. MODUL University Vienna (MU Vienna) is a private university established in 2007 in Vienna, Austria, focusing on social and economic development, particularly in the areas of tourism, new media information technology, sustainability, business management, and public governance.

The state-of-the-art Dubai campus of Modul University is spread across 25,000 sq ft and located in ONE JLT, Dubai’s most prestigious business address located at the heart of Jumeirah Lakes Towers. This is within the UAE’s fastest growing Free-Zone, the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).

All programs offered at MODUL Dubai are duly licensed by the Knowledge & Human Development Authority (KHDA) of the Emirate of Dubai. MODUL University Vienna programs are accredited by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria. While its tourism-related programs have been accredited by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) since 2012 through its renowned Themis Foundation (TedQual). Since January 2013, MU Vienna has been a member of the European Universities Consortium (EUC), a group of higher education institutions that promotes English-taught Bachelor’s programs in Europe.

Niche Universities are the future of Dubai Reviewed by on . by Gireesh Balan, Editor, Edubeanz Dubai (UAE), 07 December 2016: Lack of sufficient students had forced many international universities to close its shutters i by Gireesh Balan, Editor, Edubeanz Dubai (UAE), 07 December 2016: Lack of sufficient students had forced many international universities to close its shutters i Rating: 0
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