Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

University funding for all Emirati students

All those passing their entrance exams will receive a place this year, but only thanks to an emergency budget increase.

Funding for every qualified Emirati to go to a federal university should soon be made permanent, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research said yesterday. More than 13,000 students received text messages yesterday from the national admissions and placement office, telling them they had a university place for the coming year.

However, for the second year in a row, this was only made possible by an emergency funding increase. Before last year, lack of funding meant thousands of Emiratis were denied places despite passing the Common Educational Proficiency Assessment (Cepa) exam. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak said it was of the "utmost importance" that a new formula that linked funding to the number of qualified students was approved.

The permanent formula would allow institutions to cope with the large increase in the number of Emiratis reaching university age expected over the coming decade. Early last year, proposals were announced to link funding provided to institutions to the number of students they enrol. This funding formula had still not been approved, Sheikh Nahyan said yesterday, although he expected this to happen soon. "We have been given feedback that it is about to be approved," he said, adding that it would be "hopefully in the next budget", which is expected in the autumn.

The minister made the comments as he approved admissions for the 2009-10 academic year to Zayed University, the Higher Colleges of Technology and UAE University, the three federal institutions. He is also the president of Zayed, and chancellor of the other two institutions. The number of Emiratis confirmed as having a place at one of the three institutions or a scholarship to study overseas was 13,102, slightly down on last year's record figure of 13,315.

UAE University in Al Ain will admit 3,146 students, the Higher Colleges of Technology 7,423, and Zayed University 1,813. Scholarships to study overseas were approved for 550 undergraduates, 160 postgraduates and 10 students with special needs. Of the students admitted, 37.8 per cent were male and 62.2 per cent female, reflecting a long-running imbalance that has led to concern that too few Emirati men are going to university.

"It's an obligation to provide education for every male and female [Emirati] seeking to enrol in higher education," said Sheikh Nahyan. "We do not have the formula at the moment, but we've been given indications it will be approved." It had been hoped that the funding formula would be in place for the 2009-10 academic year, but Sheikh Nahyan said it was likely to receive approval when the next federal budget was finalised.

In 2007-08, 10,785 students gained entry to the federal universities or were awarded government scholarships to study abroad. Although the figure increased 23 per cent to 13,315 last year, when the first one-off funding increase was approved, many of these then failed to take up their places - a ministry official said yesterday that fewer than 10,000 students had actually turned up for classes. Dr Suleiman al Jassim, vice president of Zayed, said that ensuring that qualified students could enter a university represented "a commitment from the Government" to higher education.

"It was clear that the instruction from our leaders that education should be made available for all [UAE] nationals," he said. Although all qualified students were able to secure places at UAE University, the provost, Dr Rory Hume, said funding and space restrictions meant they could not all enrol at the faculty of their choice, with some students not able to join the faculty of medicine. "We're delighted to have offered admission to 3,146 extremely highly qualified students," he said.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Ali Benflis, opposition leader and main rival to Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika speaks to the press after casting his vote in the presidential elections at a polling station in Algiers on. Former prime minister Benflis ran against Bouteflika in 2004 but lost heavily, charging the vote was rigged 10 years ago and has said fraud will be his ‘main adversary’ during the election. Patrick Baz / AFP Photo

Best photography from around the world, April 17

The National View's photo editors pick the best images of the day from around the world.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Southampton owner Katharina Liebherr is pictured before the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England, on March 1, 2014. Glyn Kirk / AFP

New Southampton owner leading club’s resurgence from the shadows

Katharina Liebherr keeping with family tradition and letting others dominate the spotlight

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National