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New Classification System for Dubai Universities

by Eddie Rayner

A new Higher Education Classification is all set to benefit students looking to study in Dubai’s international university and college branch campuses. The first-ever classification by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) will place universities on a one to five-star-plus scale, making it easier for students to choose a university based on their areas of interest.

Providing an overview of higher education institutions in Dubai, students can now identify which universities are the best in specific areas like teaching, employability, research, facilities, and programme strength, among other indicators.

12,000 university students in 2008

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of KHDA said: “The last 10 years have seen student enrolment more than double, from 12,000 students in 2008 to over 30,000 students today. As the sector continues to grow, so does the need for a transparent and robust framework that will enable institutions to showcase their strengths and provide the public with helpful, relevant data to inform higher education decision-making. The classification represents a new milestone and symbolises a maturity in Dubai’s higher education sector.”

According to the first-ever ratings, three institutions achieved five-star rating, eight institutions achieved four-star rating, three institutions received three-star rating, two achieved two-star rating, and one received a one-star-rating.

Over 30,000 university students in 2019

Of the universities that underwent the first series of inspections by KHDA, Murdoch University in Dubai stands high with a 3-star rating.

Dr James M. Trotter, Dean and Academic President, says, “While Murdoch received a 3-star rating overall, which is a good outcome, we were rated as 4-stars for teaching. We were also highly rated in student wellbeing (4-stars) and facilities (5-stars), aspects that are most directly related to the quality of a student’s experience education received.

“We are proud to have multiple pathways (Foundation, Diplomas) that make a university education possible to students who might not otherwise have the opportunity.”