DUBAI // Graduates of the universities in Dubai's academic clusters claim the social side of higher education is largely lacking, even as they praise the courses on offer.
More than 18,000 students are enrolled in satellite campuses in Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Village. But not all are happy.
"The life that one would find on a fully fledged campus, especially back home, is missing here," says Sheetal Chauhan, a media student from India who will be graduating from Manipal University.
Sporting activities are non-existent as there are no playing fields.
Disha Laungani, an MBA student at Murdoch University, says campus accommodation should be provided.
"It is difficult for students travelling from other emirates or countries to find an affordable place here," says Ms Laungani, who will be graduating this year.
"An on-site hostel facility would also attract more students."
Tecom Investments, the developer of the academic clusters, had announced plans to build accommodation for 2,800 students by January this year. After announcing a delay until next year, the owners now say the project is stalled.
Many students also complain about the lack of shade on campus.
Dr Ayoub Kazim, the managing director of Tecom's education cluster, says the group has been striving to provide a variety of courses by attracting new universities such as Amity University, which is due to open in September. A shopping centre is also in the works.
"We are constantly striving towards providing them with the best possible resources to enhance their learning and overall campus experience," Dr Kazim says.