x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Vocational schools expecting large numbers to enrol

Up to 600 Emiratis are expected to enrol at two vocational education institutes that are opening in September.

Up to 600 Emiratis are expected to enrol at two vocational education institutes that are opening in September. Officials say large numbers of potential students have shown an interest in taking courses at the centres in Al Ain and Madinat Zayed. The institutes have been started by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) and will be managed by a German company, GTZ. There are places for 400 students at Al Ain Vocational Training Institute and 200 at the Western Region Vocational Training Institute. Admission is limited to Emiratis only.

There have been about 1,000 expressions of interest, in keeping with Adec's experience that increasing numbers of Emiratis are keen for a vocational education. This represented a break from the past, said Bob Turner, Adec's vocational education development manager, as up to now the focus in tertiary education had been on academic courses. "There has been one model, which has been the classical model for tertiary education - that is to go to a university or degree-granting institution," he said.

"But we have been doing a number of things, like running summer camps that have included vocational education, and young people are looking at the possibility of having more than one educational pathway. "That makes us think we're in a process of transition and people will avail themselves to things suited to their temperaments." Initially, the institutes will be based in refurbished school buildings, but eventually these will be replaced by purpose-built facilities.

Mr Turner said it was difficult to predict how many students would join, as more places had been made available at government universities this year, so fewer students might choose a vocational course instead. A separate Adec centre, Abu Dhabi Vocational Training Institute (Adveti) opened in September and is likely to have more than 1,000 students at the start of the academic year. Adveti is run by Technical and Further Education, part of the New South Wales Department of Education and Training in Australia.

@Email:dbardsley@thenational.ae