ABU DHABI // Almost a decade after the first of many universities affiliated to their Indian counterparts set up branches in the Emirates, their business is booming as students seek lower prices and easier access.
The gains have been due in part to the relatively low price tag for the degrees offered by those institutions compared with their British and American counterparts. A four-year engineering diploma at one of the UAE outposts can typically cost Dh140,000 compared with four times that amount in the US. A similar degree in India may cost as much as Dh94,000.
A number of Indian pupils also choose the satellite campuses to avoid the hotly competitive exams that determine admissions back home. About 40 per cent of the students at the Dubai campus of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani are now from India, double the ratio when the campus opened in 2006.
Indian pupils with families in the UAE, at first wary of matriculating to the branch campuses, have embraced them in droves, saving on living expenses and avoiding the trauma of relocating. Ninety per cent of students in Manipal University's management, medicine, stem-cell research and software classes at its Dubai Academic City location are from the Emirates' Indian community.
Their degrees are backed by the same prestige that comes with graduating from a well-known college in India, such as the University of Pune, which has a campus in Ras al Khaimah. Established in India in 1948, the Indian campus boasts of a student population of 170,000 for under-graduate and post-graduate courses in different faculties in India.
The RAK campus, which opened last year, offered six different postgraduate degrees and diplomas ranging from a masters in business administration to a bachelors in hospital management. Plans are under way to introduce more undergraduate programmes and expand the number of post-graduation degrees.