Abu Dhabi: Because of the growing demand for graduate education among working professionals in the UAE, the number and range of programmes are also on the rise, an education consultant has said.
In fact, a wide range of Masters degrees are already on offer in the capital, Dubai and Sharjah, but also increasingly in other emirates, Dr Senthil Nathan, managing director and co-founder of educational consultancy Edu Alliance, told Gulf News.
“The number of students enrolled in Masters programmes is growing by 10 to 15 per cent each year, and there are number of factors driving this growth, including Emiratis’ focus on career progressions and expats’ long-term plans to enhance their careers,” Dr Nathan said.
“And in order to cater to working professionals, a vast majority of these are offered in the afternoons and evenings. Some leading universities in Dubai also schedule weekend-based programmes so that to ensure uptake by students from other emirates as well,” he added.
According to Dr Nathan, Emirati professionals are now seeking to match their competition in the labour market. There is also a demand for specialist expertise from young Emiratis who are promoted to management positions - as project managers for instance - and this necessitates graduate qualifications.
On the other hand, many expats come to the UAE with undergraduate qualifications in their 20s, and seek to improve their employability or facilitate career growth by pursuing Masters’ degrees.
“As they progress through their careers, it is also common for professionals to move out of specific entry-level specialisations towards broader areas of responsibility. For instance, engineers and IT professionals can take up general management responsibilities over time, and graduate degrees can help them better manage these roles,” Dr Nathan explained.
An extensive menu on offer
The most popular offering is still as Masters of Business Administration (MBA), but the degree comes with a range of specialisations that students can choose from, including human resources, marketing and management.
“Other areas of focus relevant to the UAE economy are also available now, including in logistics, healthcare, aviation and tourism. For instance, Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi offers a wide range of highly specialised programmes in areas such as urban planning, international law, performing arts management, social research, international air transport operations management, health economics etc.,” the consultant said.
On average, the full tuition fee for a Master’s degree ranges between Dh80,000 and Dh110,000. However, certain institutions do charge more, including the London Business School in Dubai and the Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, he said.
More and more universities are also beginning to offer part-time graduate degrees.
“The trend is towards offering new specializations that differentiate each university from their competitors,” Dr Nathan said.
Apart from the MBA, the upcoming launch of mandatory teacher licenses has also created a demand for Masters of Education among teachers who have specialist undergraduate degrees in the subjects they teach but lack teacher education credentials, Dr Nathan said.