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Dubai Academic City to Become Center for Higher Education


DUBAI - With the launch of the 12 billion dirham Dubai Academic City, Dubai is embarking on a plan to become a new global academia destination, according to an announcement by the Dubai Educational Council in May 2006.

The launch comes as part of an ongoing Dubai government initiative to invest in the development of human resources through quality higher education and training.

The first phase of the project will be a 130 million square foot campus between Dubai and Al Ain designed to accommodate over 25 universities being moved to the city from the Knowledge Village, which will from now on will host only training institutions.

Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai says the project will double the number of universities set up in the city by the time it is completed in 2012.

Dubai Academic City will provide the opportunity for more than 150,000 students to receive education in some of the best local, regional and global institutions.

According to Ahmed bin Bayat, chairman of Dubai Education Council, the region, which is set to provide 100 million jobs by 2020, almost six million jobs a year, suffers from a clear deficiency in strong academic institutions, which are able to provide quality education that can compete globally.

"There is no doubt that the main challenge our region faces is the challenge of development in the information age, and the most significant characteristic of this age is the human aspect," he said.

In the previous decade, Dubai has witnessed substantial growth in various sectors - from industrial to economic to social. The government has recognized the importance of supporting this growth with an academic infrastructure.

Reputable foreign universities, which fully comply with their own countries' standards, will be allowed in the academic city, Bayat said, adding that stand-alone universities will not be permitted. "We will put a lot of guidelines and assure that quality education is provided."

Bin Bayat also said that in future Dubai Education Council might set a fund to encourage and support research within Dubai Academic City.

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