Among the 17 branch campuses of international universities across the emirate, the University of Manchester Worldwide, London Business School and Heriot-Watt University were awarded the top rating in the one-to-five star plus system.
“This classification system will bring direct benefits to students, families, and employers”
However, no institution was rated five-star plus in the inaugural ratings.
The classification system is based on QS star rating and was brought in as the sector requires a “strong and transparent assessment methodology” that enables institutions to highlight strengths, according to the government.
Six universities were not included because they had not yet classified, had no enrolments or were teaching out.
Abdulla Al Karam director-general of KHDA said the system will “allow institutions to show their strengths and provide the public with helpful, relevant data to inform higher education decision making”.
It also provides students and parents with the information they need to make decisions about the future, KHDA added.
“In a diverse and complex city with residents from over 160 countries… this classification system will bring direct benefits to students, families, and employers about the landscape of universities reviewed by Dubai,” Warren Fox, KHDA chief of higher education told The PIE News.
According to official statistics, enrolment at Dubai’s international branch campuses has more than doubled over the past 11 years, increasing from 12,000 students in 2008 to more than 30,000 students in 2019.
Dubai is home to 30 international campuses – the highest concentration of any place in the world – Fox added, and universities “may directly assist in the growth of an educated workforce”.
“The University Quality Assurance International Board provides quality oversight through a regulatory manual and releases results on a regular basis,” he explained.
The rating system looks at key areas of university provision including teaching, employability, academic programs, research results, and internationalisation.
“This strengthens the Dubai hub as more [can be] known about university programs and the institutions that offer them in a QS-like framework that is familiar around the world,” Fox explained.
Deputy vice-principal of five-star rated Heriot-Watt University Dubai Bryn Jones noted that Dubai is a desirable destination for students of many nationalities because of its “high standard of living, safe environment, and good transport links”.
“We work to ensure that we remain attractive to our traditional recruitment pools as well as investing in new areas where we believe we can be successful,” he told The PIE.
“Dubai is a desirable… because of its high standard of living, safe environment, and good transport links”
Heriot-Watt University is “uniquely structured” as an integrated global university, he said, with around one-third of students studying in Scotland, one third at campuses in Dubai and Malaysia, and one third through its online programs.
“We do not see ourselves as operating discrete branch campuses at different locations,” Jones added.
“Rather, our Campus in Dubai is a full part of the University and our academic Schools and Professional Services operate globally to provide the same degree, with the same learning outcomes and standards, to all of our students, no matter how or where they study.”
The official ranking of the international branch campuses in Dubai
5 stars plus
University of Manchester Worldwide
London Business School
S.P. Jain School of Global Management
Amity University Dubai
Hult International Business School
City University of London
Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani (Bits Pilani)
University of Bradford
Middlesex University Dubai
University of Exeter
Murdoch University, Dubai
ESMOD French Fashion Institute
Islamic Azad University
Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology