Ammar Kaka Image Credit: Supplied

In conversation with Ammar Kaka, Provost and Vice-Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai

What are some of the top programmes at Heriot-Watt? Are you planning to launch any new course this year?

All our programmes are tailored to the needs of industry and focus on equipping students with skills needed to be successful in a competitive marketplace. We consistently receive positive feedback from the industry regarding the employability of our graduates.

In terms of new programmes, we have introduced three new programmes — BSc in Statistical Data Sciences, BSc in Computer Science (Cyber Security) and BSc in Data Sciences. We are proud to be bringing these disciplines for the first time ever to Dubai and all of them are backed by our globally recognised expertise in mathematics in our Dubai campus.

How does Heriot-Watt University maintain an edge over other higher education institutes in the UAE?

We pioneered British education in Dubai, with highly acclaimed degree programmes that meet the specific demands of local business and industry. We have several strengths — we are a globally connected university, our degrees are professionally accredited and valued and we have been consistently ranked as a top provider of higher education across a number of key university ratings such as being named one of Dubai’s top universities and awarded five stars in the 2019 quality rankings undertaken by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Most importantly, our strengths translate into high levels of employability for our students. Additionally, we also recently signed a ten-year lease for a brand-new 218,000-sq-ft campus in Dubai Knowledge Park. This move marks a historic milestone for the university and the modern campus will enhance the student experience.

How does the university plan to avoid any learning slide during this time of crisis?

We have taken several steps to ensure that students can continue studying off-campus, with faculty providing remote support. Key to this remote support is Vision, our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), which allows us to deliver live and recorded video content, set quizzes, surveys and assignments, encourage online discussion and track progress and manage grades. We have also leveraged digital learning practices that we already use in some existing courses to create several additional digital materials for the benefit of all of our students.

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