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S. Gurumadhva Rao President, RAK Medical Health & Science University

UAE - Health & Education

S. Gurumadhva Rao

President, RAK Medical Health & Science University

Bio

S. Gurumadhv Rao is the President of RAK Medical Health & Science University. He has a doctorate in pharmacology from Kasturba Medical College in India. He has some 40 research articles published in peer reviewed journals.

RAK Medical Health & Science University has only grown in strength in the last few years after playing a key role in the fight against COVID-19 and robust online programs. […]
RAK Medical Health & Science University has only grown in strength in the last few years after playing a key role in the fight against COVID-19 and robust online programs.

How did RAK Medical Health & Science University contribute to the fight on the frontlines of the pandemic?
Many of our interns and students in their final year of medical, nursing, dental, and pharmacy were frontline warriors and took up the volunteering work in different hospitals in different ways. We are extremely proud of our students who were pleased to volunteer during this crisis. We depend on the Ministry of Health for guidelines regarding hospital training, though for everything else we depend on the Ministry of Education. In Ras Al Khaimah, one of our hospitals was completely converted into a COVID-19 hospital. Not only was there no admission of other non-COVID patients, but students also could not go there for clinical training. We are making up for the loss of hands-on experience in hospitals with more instructional videos and lessons in the skills lab, which are the other methods of teaching in addition to clinical rotations.

How has the university innovated teaching with digital tools?

COVID-19 is the sole reason we developed online teaching facilities and examination systems. Nowadays, many of our business meetings and internal meetings are also online. We got involved in various ways of interactive online teaching and using software for online assessments. We had to adopt new software and new technologies to cope up with the new situation. Through our webinars, we are now able to connect the entire globe and involve specialists around the globe. To date, we have conducted more than 25 international webinars and conferences with different experts from various locations. Outreach has also become bigger with lower expenditures, which is one of positives from the pandemic.

What are your expectations for the future of education?

As far as online teaching is concerned, 60-70% of teaching now can be done online if need be; however, we need to remember that students come to campus not just for lectures but also to meet colleagues, speak with faculty, and learn from each other. It is not just about developing the IQ, but also their EQ, which is equally, if not more, important these days. Emotional quotient is at times more indicative of success in leadership, managing crisis, or problem solving. Campus life helps students to develop these attributes, that is why campus life is so important. We need to remember this fact before we try to convert ourselves completely to online learning. Practical and clinical lessons absolutely need to be done in the campus as a hands-on experience. No doubt that they can be reinforced with online models, but onsite experience with patients is a must for all health science specialties, whether they are medical, dental, pharmaceutical, or nursing.

What is your perspective on the prospect of Emiratization?

In our medical, dental, and pharmaceutical programs, about 8-10% are Emiratis; however, seven years ago, not even one Emirati national was joining the nursing program. Even though everyone wanted excellent nurses, they were not keen to become one. Because of our initiative and support from His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi (Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah; UAE) the Ministry of Health was kind enough to sponsor Emirati nationals with full scholarships to complete the nursing program. To date, more than 60% are Emirati nationals and are studying in the nursing program. I am extremely proud that we have played a significant role in the Emiratization of the nursing program. In addition, the medical, dental, and pharmaceutical programs are growing. Free education is available for Emiratis at other universities also, but nursing programs are being given priority now. Previously, the minimum eligibility for nursing program was based on the performance in the science group. However, with the approval from the Ministry of Education, we modified entry criteria to enable arts group students to join nursing as well. Our tuition fees for nursing are only AED 35,000 per year, which is the lowest in UAE.

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