A number of academics and members at he Federal National Council have all affirmed that the scarcity in PhD programs in the UAE universities are standing in the way to achieve development , and they have called for provide PhD program in all the country's universities .
MOHESR stresses that the Reason is the Lack of Human Cadres and Technological Potentialities Low Number of PhD Programs at UAE Universities Stand in the Way of Development National students constitute 70% of students in postgraduate programs in Abu Dhabi University.
A number of academics and members of the Federal National Council (FNC) asserted that the low number of PhD programs in the UAE universities stands in the way to development. They called for providing all PhD programs all over the UAE universities, since they can remarkably help students achieve their ambitions, develop their skills and promote innovative and creative potentials. Students can then pursue their postgraduate studies, do businesses and take care of their families with no need to travel abroad and spend large amounts of money. They noted that “the UAE is in need for highly qualified national cadres in all fields of specialization to contribute to the ongoing development.” They wondered why not all fields of specialization and programs are available to provide the opportunity to MD and PhD students to study at the UAE universities.
On his part, Dr. Muhammad Badr El Din Abul Ela, director of MOHESR’s Academic Approval Authority, stated that postgraduate studies require special preparations and capabilities. For instance, human capabilities include a staff with a remarkable research profile and technological ones include research facilities, particularly in the programs of applied sciences such as engineering, medicine, etc. To illustrate further, Rashid Muhammad Khalfan Al Shureiqi, an FNC member, emphasized that he thinks it is possible to introduce PhD programs to the UAE universities in the various fields of specialization needed by the labor market. He pointed out that universities have all the facilities available, but they only need a resolution to start listing PhD programs. Al Shureiqi called for providing PhD programs in various fields of specialization inside the UAE, so that students can be encouraged to pursue their educational progress, develop their skills and potentials and achieve their ambitions. Students will then have no need to travel or leave their families and work. They can work, pursue their studies and take care of their families inside the UAE. He noted also that this will be positively reflected in the development of students’ innovative and creative sense and will promote their professional performance.
Hence, the entire society will develop.” Khalifa Bin Howaiden Al Katbi, an FNC member, wondered why PhD programs are not delivered inside the UAE, which is home to the most efficient universities around the Gulf. He stated that if such programs are made available in different areas of specialization, they will attract a large mass of students, particularly those interested in business management, law, accounting, engineering, medicine, etc. He called for integrating PhD programs in these areas to meet the needs of students and help them achieve their ambitions and live in their homeland. Another FNC member, Ahmad Muhammad Al Khatiri, asserted that the lack of adequate funding and budgeting of scientific research across the Arab world is the reason for such low number of PhD programs in various universities. According to Al Khatiri, “the UAE is in need for more funding and good management that supervises the effective development of scientific research.” He asserted that it is important to make plans for the development of higher education in public and private universities. He wondered why some postgraduate students study outside the UAE while their areas of specialization are available inside the UAE. On his part, Dr. Abdel Rahman Sabouni, President of Al Hosn University in Abu Dhabi, said that national students have limited opportunities to pursue their postgraduate studies inside the UAE. Only few students can join postgraduate programs. However, this is a plausible situation when we consider that the entire system of higher education is a modern introduction into the UAE.
Dr. Nabil Ibrahim, President of Abu Dhabi University, stated: “The low number of PhD programs in the UAE is attributable to the performance of the universities themselves. Providing MD and PhD programs is an essential prerequisite for the future of the UAE and the region. The whole world is now moving towards the knowledge economy.” Universities have 900 postgraduate students, he added, which means that more than 300 students are graduated yearly and are specialized in areas that can accrue great business revenues. According to Ibrahim, “Abu Dhabi University is currently focusing on postgraduate studies and is considered as one of the leading universities in the UAE that grants MD degrees. It is also one of the most pioneering universities that offer PhD programs in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates University. It offers the most affordable costs among the UAE universities as well as joint postgraduate programs with foreign universities, to ensure a high and modern level of education.” Ibrahim also explained that Abu Dhabi University has 2000 students, half of whom are in the final year. He added that there are 9000 postgraduate students, including 550 national students who account for 70% of students. According to Ibrahim, “PhD programs are pressing and the reason of their unavailability in the UAE universities is the low number of students who are interested in the different PhD specializations. Nevertheless, PhD staff can readily be provided. ” Ibrahim added that some MD students prefer studying abroad, either to reduce costs or to enjoy the higher level of education guaranteed by foreign universities.
This should not discredit the fact that the UAE universities offer an excellent level of education, too. The low number of specializations is the only hindrance that prevents students from achieving their ambitions and joining the specializations they are interested in. On his part, Dr. Muhammad Badr El Din Abul Ela, director of MOHESR’s Academic Approval Authority, stated that universities often offer postgraduate programs after they attain maturity. For instance, the United Arab Emirates University is the oldest and largest university across the UAE. However, it has started to provide PhD programs only this year, after more than 28 years of its establishment. He noted that higher education institutions are expected to have research centers that focus on some areas or specializations, which is a typical characteristic of higher education. It is not necessary that each university should provide all specializations. The MOHESR has set rules and standards for checking the quality of postgraduate academic programs; which serves as an essential requirement to ensure the quality of the contents and outputs of such programs.
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