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Improved campuses, better infrastructure and enhanced engagement with students have led to a high KHDA rating for several Dubai institutions. Senior officials from the winning universities elaborate on the effect these ratings will have on students, including employment opportunities straight out of college

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Dr Srinivasan Madapusi, Director, BITS Pilani, Dubai Campus

“KHDA’s 5 star rating is most certainly a resounding endorsement of our high-quality programmes that contribute to the knowledge-based economy of the UAE. We see the rating as an outcome of the implementation of best educational and academic practices in conjunction with extensive and mutually beneficial engagement with our stakeholders.

"Our unique practice school system comprising a 7.5 month full-time internship at industry facilitates a seamless transition to careers for our students. In addition, we have an excellent tradition of our students going for higher studies at some of the most prestigious universities around the world.”

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Shweta Wahi, Director, People & Culture, Curtin University Dubai

“Receiving a 5-star ranking in the first year of being eligible is testament to the quality of the campus. With a Careers Centre that offers a holistic approach to students, and an employability programme that consists of workshops and seminars held by industry experts and HR specialists, Curtin Dubai has left no stone unturned in ensuring its graduates are career ready.

"The 5-Star ranking from KHDA demonstrates that the Dubai campus is also fully worthy of the 5-star Plus ranking that Curtin university has received from QS. The KHDA is highly regarded locally and internationally, and the Higher Education Classification process is a vigorous and detailed one. To receive validation from such a prestigious authority will certainly have a positive effect on our students’ chances of finding employment right after graduation.”

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Ammar Kaka, Provost & Vice Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai

“We received 5 stars for the third time in a row in KHDA’s HEC rating, and we believe this will have a role to play in helping students find employment. The HEC ratings are based around the four core categories of Teaching, Research, Employability, and Internationalisation and other categories including programme strength, arts and culture as well as happiness and well-being.

"Every single one of these forms a key part of the university experience as well as student success. We believe such ratings encourage universities to enhance all these areas, which will ultimately benefit the students and their prospects for employment. On the other hand, it also helps students decide which university they would like to join to build their future. In our case, the fact that our students have graduated from a 5-star rated HEI has given them an edge in the employment market.”

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Abdul Razzak, Head, Corporate Alliances & Partnerships, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Dubai Campus

“Top employers around the world closely monitor the QS rankings while strategising their yearly graduate recruitment plans. Similarly, in the UAE, KHDA ratings are creating curiosity among employers. The KHDA 5-Star rating not only showcases our university’s commitment towards preparing students with the required skills to face the fierce competition in the UAE, but also gives the overall perspective on industry engagement activities and joint collaborations. The rating system is slowly but surely creating an impact and encouraging employers to offer more opportunities to students graduating from top ranked universities in the UAE.”

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Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Middlesex University, Director, Middlesex University Dubai

“A 5-star institution offers a world-class standard of education and has demonstrated strengths across categories such as Learning Environment, Programme Strength, and Advanced Criteria categories. This, paired with our global reputation and highly regarded international research and teaching standards, would ensure our students meet the high standards of employers, upon their programme completion. However, at Middlesex University Dubai, what we offer above and beyond that is what truly shapes our students into the tenacious, empowered, and unfaltering future employees that would truly be an asset to any organisation.

"Our exceptional student experience, expert academic faculty, passionate commitment to success, and learning which is interactive, engaging, challenging and above all, fun, ensures each of our programmes have employability at their core – providing students with the vital skills and practical knowledge required to succeed in today’s ever-changing world. We have leading connections with companies across the globe, and our students benefit from unfiltered exposure to industry, internships, work placements, and real-life collaborations throughout their studies.”

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Jan Horn, Managing Director, SAE Dubai

“SAE Dubai is delighted that our results demonstrate continuous improvement. Our overall score increased from 680 points in 2019/20 to 740 points in 2020/21. We welcome the feedback received from the KHDA and this will assist us in our commitment to continually enhance the student learning journey at SAE Dubai. SAE scored 5 Stars in most of the elements evaluated. While we did score in excess of the 700 point threshold for 5 Stars, the KHDA has additional criteria which must be met for the overall rating and our research output met the 4 Star criteria. As a creative media institute focused on practical, hands-on and industry aligned qualifications our focus has never been on academically driven research output.

"Going forward, in addition to enhancing the quality and quantity of our research, we are focusing on increasing the public recognition of our research output in preparation for the next submission. This will be achieved by continuing to support and encourage staff to produce high quality research output as well as providing them greater flexibility to collaborate on projects with the creative industry.”