The UAE Ministry of Education has signed an agreement with QAA, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to quality assurance of higher education institutions in the UAE.
Dr Mohammed Al-Mualla, the Ministry of Education’s Undersecretary for Academic Affairs of Higher Education, and QAA’s Chief Executive Douglas Blackstock signed the agreement last week, in the presence of Dr Ahmad Belhoul, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, and Paul Fox, HM British Consul General in Dubai.
‘The UAE’s higher education sector has evolved significantly over the past three decades, since the establishment of the first public university in 1976 and, later the establishment of the first private university in 1988,’ said Dr Ahmad Belhoul, UAE Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills.
‘Private universities today account for over 60 per cent of the capacity of higher education in the UAE. Institutions in the UAE have recently started to appear in international rankings amongst the world’s universities.
‘In our pursuit of excellence and the country’s transition to a knowledge-based economy, we launched the National Higher Education Strategy in September of this year, which focuses on quality, innovation, relevance and efficiency as key pillars in driving forward higher education.
‘Quality assurance is integral to the success of any higher education system and through this partnership with the QAA, we are aligning our quality assurance system with the best international practices and developments in higher education, to ensure that our students receive world-class standards of education.’
Paul Fox, British Consul General in Dubai, reinforced the strengthening of UAE-UK ties through this agreement, said: ‘The UAE and the UK share very close links in education.
‘We are proud that a UK agency is engaging in an exchange of knowledge with the UAE, in alignment with its national ambitions for a knowledge-based economy and ensure that the educational offer is of a high quality.’
Dr Mohammed Al-Mualla, UAE Ministry of Education’s Undersecretary for Academic Affairs of Higher Education, said: ‘The UAE was the first in the region to establish a Commission for Academic Accreditation in 2000.
‘Over the past 17 years, we successfully developed and implemented our standards for licensing institutions and accrediting programs of higher education. The UAE’s commission for academic accreditation is recognised by the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE).
‘The agreement with QAA will benchmark our standards against international best practices, account for new and future developments globally in higher education, and ensure that we have a unified and consistent quality assurance program throughout the UAE.’
As part of the year-long agreement, QAA will collaborate with UAE’s Ministry of Education to oversee the revision of institutional licensure and program accreditation, introduce a new system for dealing with complaints, and offer training on quality assurance to align with global standards.
Douglas Blackstock said: ‘QAA has a world class reputation in higher education quality assurance.
‘We are going to bring 20 years’ experience of assuring the quality and standards of UK higher education to collaborate with the Ministry and design a system that works for the UAE, now and in the future.
‘It's a privilege to be selected by the Ministry as UAE’s partner of choice, and we look forward to working with the Ministry and higher education institutions to support this important work.’