The Business Year

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Franco Vigliotti

Dean, EPFL Middle East

Excellent institutions covering education, research, and innovation are engines of societal and economic transformation. Up until recently, some institutions came to RAK with a commercial approach, but with the creation of the Academic Zone, authorities are taking a harder look at the institutions that want to operate in RAK. This emphasis on quality control will benefit the entire education environment and the economic ecosystem of RAK and the UAE. Equally important, the programs offered should match the current and future needs of the local and regional economy. As institutions embrace the vision, the quality and profiles of the new graduates will be better suited to enable and support the local and regional economy. The government has a vision for economic transformation. To this end, programs are needed that promote innovation and help transform the economy, such as digitalization and artificial intelligence. In 10-20 years, the countries that are not digitally enabled will be in a position of serious competitive disadvantage. RAK can become a regional model in that sense.

Raj Nambiar

Director, University of Bolton

The Academic Zone, which is part of RAKEZ, is a welcome addition to the current educational landscape. The education sector in the UAE was not heavily regulated as compared to western countries; however, since establishing our institution in 2008, we are delighted that the Academic Zone has implemented the strictest of guidelines which all institutions operating or seeking to operate have to comply with. The University of Bolton is the first British University to be licensed by the Academic Zone. In 2008, Ras Al Khaimah was a relatively unknown place for universities, but due to its beautiful landscape, affordability, and renowned universities, expatriates and locals are rushing in to avail the potential on offer. Students value our linkages with professional accreditation bodies, industry associations, and corporate affiliations that would help them secure well-heeled corporate positions. Due to the competitive nature of the job market, students prioritize workplace recognition and value-added learning opportunities that help set them apart from the competition.

Ahmed Rafi Ferry

Managing Director & CEO, Ahmed Rafi Ferry

Students in the UAE are more interested in a British education compared to other options. However, Brexit is making it harder to obtain student visas. Dubai is already home to plenty of brand campuses from around the world and Ras Al Khaimah is showing more opportunity for growth. Companies are hiring students from abroad; however, those studying in the UAE receive better job opportunities due to the exposure of the local area, language, and communication. When comparing job applications, companies give preference to local residents rather than expats. Students want to come to Ras Al Khaimah to continue their studies because it offers the same quality of education at a cheaper rate. At present, there is greater potential than before, which is why international universities are setting up campuses here. We expect Ras Al Khaimah to be the preferred destination as it offers lower costs of living as compared to other Emirates.

Velanand SR

Director of Institutional Development, Birla Institute of Technology

Education will continue to grow in RAK because the government is taking steps to organize an academic zone. In comparison to other Emirates, RAK does not want every higher education entity to come here and set up; it is selective and the government helps and supports institutions throughout the process. It is important to have a local partner that has strong relationships with high schools. The Dubai higher education landscape is a competitive space; at present, RAK offers greater potential for prospective institutions. The advantage of RAK is that an interested institution can directly communicate with the authorities. Such encouragement would be difficult to find in an Emirate like Dubai, which already has a number of large players. RAK offers a highly regulated environment that ensures healthy competition. We have no problem with other British universities in RAK because we believe in our uniquely structured programs. In addition, if we want to open further institutions, our established credentials will help us in the process.



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