Wednesday, April 27, 2011

UAE Universities Aim to Fulfil Diverse Industry Expectations with Broad-based Curricula, Highlight Experts at DIAC Forum

Stakeholders at Third Education Forum Offer Insights on ‘Industry Expectations from UAE Education Sector’

Dubai-UAE: 27 April, 2011 – Curricula in institutions of higher learning increasingly integrate elements of ethics, social and cultural aspects to suit the growing multicultural work environment. Graduates are also equipped with broad-based learning and a specialty in more than one discipline to suit a wide variety of job profiles, according to Professor Abdullah Al Shamsi, Vice-Chancellor, The British University in Dubai.
Al Shamsi’s comments came during a panel discussion titled ‘Industry Expectations from the UAE Education Sector’ at the third Education Forum that was organised today by Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), a member of TECOM Investments’ Education Cluster.
Delegates from key educational institutions and government departments, as well as representatives from leading universities, faculty members and private sector professionals participated in the DIAC Education Forum. The event focused on identifying the effectiveness of the UAE education system in shaping the skills of tomorrow’s workforce to meet the requirements of the industry and employers.
The panelists who took the podium at the event included David Van Lochem, Human Resources Director, IBM Middle East; Diaa Mohamed, General Manager, Human Resources Middle East, Hewlett-Packard Co., and Marita Mitchein, Board Area, Human Resource Business Partner, SAP. The session was moderated by Francis Matthew, Editor-at-Large, Gulf News.
Professor Abdullah Al Shamsi added: “Current international college curricula address various important topics that are of global relevance. Graduation requirements from curricula point of view are universally similar. The depth is even more apparent in the post-graduate programmes. Furthermore, communication skills are becoming extremely important. Team work and professional skills are also accorded importance. In the UAE, issues that are demanded by employers are actually met in one way or another in most if not all of the accredited universities.”
David Van Lochem, Human Resources Leader, IBM Middle East, said: "We select fresh graduates via an assessment centre. It is not only about what they know, it is more about identifying and developing their ultimate potential and whether they have what it takes to convince internal and external customers."
Underlining the objectives of the DIAC Education Forum, Dr. Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director, Education Cluster – TECOM Investments, said: “Assessing the industry needs is very crucial for the universities and the education sector in general. It will assist the graduating students in finding jobs and create a better link between the industry sector and higher education institutions.
“As part of the third Education Forum series, Dubai International Academic City brought together experts from the industry and academia and provided a platform to initiate a dialogue on what is expected from students entering the workforce.”
Dubai International Academic City, part of the Education Cluster – TECOM Investments, hosts 27 higher education institutions from 11 different countries that cater to approximately 18,000 students.

Students at DIAC have access to over 300 higher education programmes, including undergraduate and post-graduate disciplines in engineering, IT, media, business, fashion design, healthcare and mass communications.

About Dubai International Academic City:

Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) is the world’s only Free Zone dedicated to Higher Education.  Established in 2007 as part of TECOM Investments, DIAC aims to develop the region’s talent pool and establish the UAE as a knowledge-based economy.
DIAC is the premier destination for Higher Education in the region, located on a fully-appointed 18 million sq ft. campus with state-of-the-art modern facilities.  DIAC currently has 27 Academic institutions from 11 countries.
The DIAC campus is host to over 18,000 students from more than 100 nationalities.  DIAC students also have access to over 300 Higher Education programmes.
DIAC Phase III achieved a “Green” status and was awarded Silver LEED certification.  DIAC provides an established educational environment for academic institutions and caters to students from around the world.
DIAC is also ranked top 10 in the Middle East under “Best Transportation” category and top 25 in the Middle East under “Best Overall” category according to 2010 Financial Times Rankings.

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