Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

Free summer courses at top universities for Emiratis under new programme

The Ministry of Education is sponsoring 19 students enrolled in summer courses at top global universities this year

This year, more than 830 school pupils and college students will take part in the Ambassadors programme Victor Besa / The National
This year, more than 830 school pupils and college students will take part in the Ambassadors programme Victor Besa / The National

Almost 20 Emirati students have enrolled in courses at top universities around the world this summer under a new scheme launched by the Ministry of Education.

The 19 students, who attend public universities in the UAE, will study advanced sciences, international affairs, business and energy at universities in the UK, Canada, South Korea and the US.

Their courses will be paid for by the Ministry under the Ambassadors programme that organises two to six-week workshops or training courses abroad for school pupils, university students and teachers every spring and summer.

Previously, students had to organise their own summer courses abroad and fund them themselves. The new scheme means the Ministry pays for the trips and credits earned from the courses count towards participating students’ academic transcripts.

The Emirati students, from Zayed University, Khalifa University and UAE University, will be studying at the London School of Economics, and the University of Leeds in the UK, Korea University in South Korea, McGill University in Canada and the University of California, Berkeley in the US.

Launched in 2016, the Ambassadors programme aims to diversify Emirati students’ knowledge while also giving them the best opportunities to study abroad and gain valuable experience.

This year, 731 school pupils, 112 teachers and 102 university students will have undergone training under the ­programme.

“We have started in a new direction with national universities and colleges where we assist students to get admission in summer courses in international universities,” said Dr Amna Al Shamsi, assistant undersecretary of the activities sector at the Ministry.

“The Ministry recognised the impact of international exposure on students and that is why this programme was introduced in collaboration with the public universities in UAE,” she said.

Dr Al Shamsi said the initiative would benefit the students and in turn strengthen national ­institutes.

“This will help students

get access to international courses and explore other opportunities for postgraduate studies in those universities,” she said.

“Many students fear joining international universities for higher education because they do not know the environment or how the system works. This breaks that barrier and allows our students to have that exposure.”

Sophie Oakes, higher education adviser at Gabbitas, an education consultancy in Dubai, said summer programmes are crucial for students and common elsewhere in the world.

“Universities want students that are intellectually and culturally curious and value students who have participated in summer programmes,” Ms Oakes said.

“When you apply to a university for a summer course you have gone above and beyond the curriculum to study something,” she said.

“When students are applying for a master’s or a graduate degree, a summer programme is a huge plus point.

“Emirati students are quite likely to be ahead of the game as they live in such an international society.

“When they are travelling for six weeks and doing courses, they are being exposed to different cultures and inspiring campuses. They may want to study a master’s elsewhere.”

Updated: July 7, 2019 09:11 PM

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