At the moments students opt for universities based on perception and goodwill
Universities in the UAE will soon be ranked as part of a new system being developed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
Speaking to Khaleej Times
,Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, said: "There will be a (university) ranking system. We are committed to maintaining a high quality of education and we have plans to build a good accreditation system and licensing policies."
His remarks came on the sidelines of the first day of the British Council’s Going Global Conference in Dubai.
“Our focus is always on students. We are fully engaged in global discussions that can help nations strengthen our knowledge economy and compete at a global level,” said Shaikh Nahyan in his opening address to the delegates.
Currently, the UAE does not have any higher education ranking system. Most students opt for universities based on perception and goodwill.
The rankings are expected to take into account faculty quality, student feedback, enrolment data, graduate employability and other indices to provide a comprehensive comparison.
International experts in university rankings will address officials from the Ministry of Education on Thursday and methods of data collection and best practices in developing rankings will be shared.
Tayyeb Kamali, Vice-Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology, confirmed that the ranking system was in the ‘early stages’ of development and the mechanisms were still being discussed.
Last year, the Institute of International Education, the world’s largest international exchange organisation, created the region’s first classification of higher education institutions by developing a catalogue of 350 universities.
The report highlighted ‘major hurdles’ in collecting data, which included ‘lack of transparency’ and a ‘reluctance of ministries of education and institutions to participate’. Creating a ranking system will require universities to share data, which will be the first step.
Dr Warren Fox, Executive Director of Higher Education at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which oversees freezone universities in Dubai, cited concerns about a ranking system.
He said: "It will be difficult to collect data for branch campuses and rankings continue to remain debated. Gathering data and reporting on it will have many difficulties. The KHDA is planning to work with institutions in Dubai’s freezones to increase the amount of information available in public. The best way is to provide people with information to make a choice, but we do not have a plan to do rankings."