The Emirates Foundation has launched a scholarship programme for UAE nationals who hope to earn PhDs in the social sciences and humanities. There has been concern among educators that too few Emiratis are teaching in universities, particularly in the social sciences. The three-year scholarships will pay for all or part of the airfare, tuition and living expenses for students to attend "leading international universities", the foundation said in a statement.
Dr Mona al Bahar, the senior executive manager of the Emirates Foundation's social development programme, said improved education levels could contribute to "economic and human development". "Therefore, investment in education is crucial to maintain and advance UAE social development," she said. "Educated people are the only sustainable wealth, whereas all other kinds of wealth, especially the natural resources, are destined to be depleted."
In recent months, academics have warned that the "Americanisation" of higher education in the UAE risks alienating Emiratis who might otherwise pursue a career in university teaching. While about a quarter of academic staff at UAE University are Emirati, at some other government institutions the figure is as low as one per cent. There is no fixed number of scholarships to be awarded through the Emirates Foundation programme; officials said it will depend on the quality of applicants.
Eligible fields include anthropology, history, economics, social work, sociology and political science. Candidates must show they are keen on a career in teaching or public policy. Four years of support are available to candidates who must first complete a master's degree. Applications can be made until April 1 at www.emiratesfoundation.ae