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Dubai campus closure leaves students stranded

A Canadian university campus in Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV) that allowed an unlicensed Iranian university to operate from its premises has closed, leaving around 100 students to look for alternative campuses on which to complete their studies.

Shiraz University had been operating from Canada International College's premises in Dubai Knowledge Village for around a year.

Shiraz University had been operating without a licence from Canada International College's premises for around a year

Shiraz University had been operating without a licence from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) from Canada International College Dubai (CIC)’s premises for around a year. It claimed to offer courses from undergraduate to PhD level.

“We have informed Shiraz University that they do not have permission to continue operations in Dubai”

Asma Dalmook, heads of permits and regulations at KHDA, said: “We have informed Shiraz University that they do not have permission to continue operations in Dubai and to find alternatives for the students currently registered.”

Students have been instructed to transfer either to the university’s home campus or to another Iranian university with a campus in Dubai.

Dr Ayoub Kazim, managing director of TECOM Investments’ Education Cluster, which comprises DKV and Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), said in a statement: “When we became aware that [CIC] was also acting as host for unapproved courses on behalf of Shiraz University, we immediately referred the matter to the KHDA.”

“We are currently in discussions with the KHDA about the situation and Canada International College is no longer located in Dubai Knowledge Village.”

CIC was authorised by the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority (DTMFZA) to offer its own courses, but not those of third party providers.

Speaking with The PIE News, a KHDA spokesperson said: “If further unlicensed activity is identified [at DKV], then the KHDA will take the appropriate action to ensure students are adequately protected.”

The Authority is implementing a “very rigorous review system for new proposals” as it prepares to host the 2020 World Expo, Warren Fox, head of higher education at KHDA, said in January.

“With all the excitement of 2020 there are expectations of money to be made within higher education, but in the long term it’s about the quality of the institution, how it serves the needs of the students and how it serves the needs of Dubai,” he explained.

“The regulatory requirements are basically the same, but we have added for new campuses an initial review process including external reviewers,” he told The PIE News. “This results in more information about the campus or programme and provides the insight of qualified reviewers with international quality assurance experience.”

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