ABU DHABI // Abu Dhabi University is to open a campus in Dubai.
The private institution, accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education, is in the early stages of its expansion plans.
The chancellor said he envisaged the move to be beneficial for students and industry in Dubai.
“It’s a very different city,” said Dr Nabil Ibrahim, chancellor of the 10-year-old university.
“It’s a very important region, mainly because of the fact it’s a trade hub. It’s a very dynamic region and also highly competitive in terms of the education market.
“It’s vital that we exist in international regions like Dubai.”
Dr Ibrahim said the expansion had been in the pipeline for some time.
“The economic situation four years ago prevented us making the move but now is an opportune time,” he said.
The university has a campus in Al Ain, largely serving the military, and is looking to branch out to Al Gharbia to serve the region’s emerging industries.
It is already in talks with the Western Region Development Council, which has said it would support the university’s move to the area.
At the moment Al Gharbia can offer residents degree programmes only at the Higher Colleges of Technology and Fatima College of Health Sciences.
Dr Ayoub Kazim, head of Dubai’s education clusters, Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City, said he welcomed the plans for the university to expand to Dubai.
“Abu Dhabi University has played an important role in the development of the region’s higher-education sector,” he said.
“The quality of the faculty and the courses on offer are truly world class and tailored to the demands of local industries.
“We would welcome any plans for the university to expand in Dubai, as would our students from the UAE and neighbouring countries.”
Dr Ibrahim said the Dubai campus would differ from its original campus, catering to the specific needs of the emirate.
“We will partner with existing businesses on programmes that will be beneficial to them, like we do in Abu Dhabi, and do it in a way that shows a major contribution to their business,” he said.
There are 48,058 university students at more than 50 institutions in Dubai – some in free zones that fall under the Knowledge and Human Development Authority and elsewhere under the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
But residents say the more choice, the better.
Heba Noor, a mother of two, is already wondering where her son Ahmed will study when he graduates from high school in two years.
“He wants to stay in the UAE to study his undergraduate degree and the more choices there are, the easier it is to find a quality university,” she said.
“I know Abu Dhabi University has a lot of choice of programmes, but I think he would prefer to be in Dubai where his friends are.”