Dr. Badr Abu Al-Aalaa, Director of the Academic Evaluation Department at the Ministry of Higher Education, revealed that “there are 56 private educational institutions countrywide that are licensed and registered with the Ministry of Higher Education. Some of such institutions accept 10 students only, especially in the medical field. Sometimes only 3 students are enrolled per specialization”.
He said: “The licenses of private universities are granted by the Ministry of Higher Education. The municipalities are also liable for monitoring and closing down non-licensed universities. Educational institutes which conduct courses for less than one year are the responsibility of the Ministry of Education”.
The Federal National Council had discussed earlier the existence of many universities operating in the UAE without a license from the Ministry of Higher Education. Abu Al-Aalaa stated to “UAE Today” that the “Ministry of Higher Education” did not approve the offering of certain programs and specializations in some universities because of the absence of related job opportunities, especially in the medical field, which requires training opportunities and an adequate number of educational institutions. He added: “The Ministry is sometimes involved in determining the number of accepted students in a specific specialization according to the available educational opportunities.
The university shall not exceed the ceiling approved by the Ministry of Higher Education”. “The curricula in higher education institutions are subject to international assessment by external committees that are invited from abroad by the Ministry of Higher Education to assess the program, the educational plan and the facilities. The committees assess the equipment, the potential faculty, their qualifications and the educational sources, before offering the program, to guarantee the rights of the students. The Ministry of Higher Education sets constraints on the new specializations added by a university or college. These are not authorized to offer specializations before obtaining the approval of the Ministry of Higher Education through a feasibility study.
This study is subject to the requirements of the labor market and similar programs”. According to Abu Al-Aalaa, the increasing number of current universities with respect to the population is due to the fact that “the number of students accepted in some institutions does not exceed 10, and the universities as well as the educational institutions will witness further increase in the upcoming period. The Private Education Department may have a say in university fees if the university does not notify the students of the increase in fees by a specific percentage upon registration or of the fixing of a maximum fee. In this case, the Ministry of Higher Education intervenes to prevent the university from exceeding the agreed fees. The university fees for the new programs are essentially subject to the assessment of the university itself; but with regard to old programs, if there is an agreed annual percentage, the university shall abide thereby”.
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