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Nation's first EdD candidates chosen

The British University in Dubai selects 16 students as the first in the country to begin work towards a doctoral degree in education.

The British University in Dubai has selected 16 students to be the first in the country to begin work towards a doctoral degree in education. The candidates were chosen from more than 100 applicants. The launch of the EdD degree comes as UAE University in Al Ain, a federal government university, is preparing its own PhD programme. It has been rare for universities in the country to offer doctorates, with most concentrating on undergraduate teaching and master's courses instead of the high-level research required for a doctorate. The EdD degree, aimed at those interested in senior management positions in educational organisations, requires course work and a research thesis.

Among the students is Tarifa al Zaabi, an Emirati and dean of student services at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Sharjah. "To have an educational doctorate is very important, as it gives me the right skills to help improve the education service we provide to Emirati students," she said. Another, Neda Behmardi, said that with an EdD she would be able to conduct research into improving the UAE's education system.

The British University in Dubai was founded with funding from the Dubai Government and operates through partnerships with several British universities. UAE University is planning to take its first doctoral students in January after receiving about 1,000 applications for 30 places. It envisions taking more each year as part of a plan to turn itself into one of the world's top 100 universities in five years.

Other elite universities to offer doctoral degrees include Khalifa University, which has campuses in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, and Heriot-Watt in Dubai International Academic City. dbardsley@thenational.ae

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