Middlesex University
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Dubai: Sixty four per cent of branch campuses in Dubai have achieved four or five stars in the second annual Higher Education Classification (HEC), which rates services and quality of education provided by higher education institutions in Dubai.

This year’s classification released by Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) showed that six branch campuses achieved the highest 5-star rating, five achieved a 4-star rating, four received a 3-star rating, while two received a 2-star rating.

Seventeen branch campuses across Dubai took part in the classification and more than 30,000 students were surveyed. The full report and list can be see on www.khda.gov.ae/en/highereducationclassification.

Dr Wafi Dawood

Dr Wafi Dawood, CEO of Strategy and Planning Sector, KHDA, said, “Students in Dubai and all over the world can refer to the HEC to identify what they value in higher education, and then to make more confident decisions about their future in Dubai.”

Five-star universities explain how they secured the top ratings

Career support

Dr Kevin Dunseath, regional director (Mena) and director of the Dubai Centre of ‘City, University of London’, said, “The main change I think this year, which enabled us to achieve the 5-star rating, was that we achieved this year 5-stars for our facility and we also achieved a higher rating for employability.”

He added: “Employability is actually a rather difficult metric for us because all of our students are already in full-time employment. These are mature professionals and they study on a part time basis.

“We scored the maximum points for our career services support and we think that is very important because even if students are already in full employment, they still need excellent support for the development of their careers as they progress with their current employer.”

International focus

Dr S. V. Kota Reddy, Academic President, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Dubai Campus (also known as MAHE Dubai), said the academy’s renewed focus on ‘internationalism’ contributed to achieving the 5-star rating, among other strengths.

“We focused particularly on international collaboration, inviting international faculty to Dubai, and organising various exchange programmes,” Dr Reddy said.

Equality, diversity

Ammar Kaka, Provost and Vice Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai listed ‘inclusiveness’ among the contributing factors.

“Equality and diversity is a primary consideration throughout the university. Especially with regard to students, we embed equality and diversity into all that we do at Heriot-Watt to help them achieve their potential. We provide one-to-one pastoral support and our Professional Services staff, such as the Careers and Wellbeing teams provides a range of advice and support for students on all kinds of issues,” Kaka said.

Record expectations

Dr Cedwyn Fernandes, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Director of Middlesex University Dubai, is expecting a record year of admissions despite recent disruptions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“2020 has both been the dawn of a new decade - and a year which has seen unprecedented times - not only in the world of academia but for the wider world at large.

“However, this phase will pass. Opportunities will return. Our world will emerge stronger than before. This is already the case at Middlesex University Dubai, which has been going from strength-to-strength, with a record expected year of admissions and an expanded portfolio of programmes available in the autumn,” he said.

What do the ratings mean?

  • 1-star institution provides a good standard of education to students and has the necessary organisational structure to enable progress and development.
  • 2-star institution provides a good standard of education to students and has demonstrated progress in the core criteria categories.
  • 3-star institution provides a high standard of education to students and has demonstrated strengths in core criteria categories while showing progress in other categories and advanced criteria.
  • 4-star institution offers an excellent standard of education to students and has demonstrated strengths across all categories including core and advanced criteria categories. Graduate skill sets are attractive to employers. 4-star institutions meet pre-requisites in Research and Teaching.
  • 5-star institution offers a world-class standard of education and has demonstrated strengths across all categories including core criteria categories and advanced criteria categories. It has a global reputation and has highly regarded international research and teaching standards. Graduates are sought after by employers. Five-star institutions meet pre-requisites in Teaching, Research, Employability and Overall Student Satisfaction.