- A decade after its launch, DIAC is now a leading international education hub with 23 universities from nine countries and over 25,000 students
- DIAC attributes its success to its “Incubator” business model, where academic partners are encouraged to start small, demonstrate value, and grow organically.
Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) this week marked 10 years of remarkable growth and achievements in the field of higher education, attributing its success to attracting academic partners focused on providing high-impact education.
With the highest concentration of International Branch Campuses (IBC’s) in the world, and a plethora of opportunities and state-of-the-art facilities, Dubai has emerged as a world class education hub for domestic and overseas students seeking international experience from reputed universities from around the world.
DIAC originally commenced operations in 2007 with 9,480 students, with the purpose of developing the region’s talent pool and helping to advance a knowledge-based economy in the UAE. Its sprawling educational hub spanning 18 million square feet, comprising state-of-the art facilities, was built to meet the increased demand in the Higher Education sector, hosting several leading International Branch Campuses (IBCs).
A decade after its launch, DIAC is now a leading international education hub with 23 universities from nine countries. With over 25,000 students of 150 nationalities and more than 450 degree programmes, DIAC continues to expand in line with the UAE’s requirements for higher education institutions.
Reflecting on this important milestone, Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of DIAC and Dubai Knowledge Park, said: “In the past 10 years, we have come a long way in redefining the education landscape in the UAE. We attribute our success to our “Incubator” business model, where we encourage our academic partners to start small, demonstrate value, and grow organically.”
This is especially true for a number of DIAC’s academic partners such as Manipal University, BITS Pilani, Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Dubai and Heriot-Watt University, who have benefited from the “Incubator” business model.
Launched in 2003 with 63 students and 4 programmes, Manipal University established a 750,000 square feet campus in 2011 to accommodate over 2,165 students from over 30 nationalities with 23 programmes. Similarly, when Heriot-Watt University launched 2005, it only offered 3 distinct programmes for a study body of a 158 students. Over the years, Heriot-Watt University has grown phenomenally and currently offers 54 courses across foundation, undergraduate and post graduate programmes to 4,500 students.
Mr. Mohammad added: “Universities are built on the simple idea of people coming together to learn more about the world. I am proud to observe that DIAC, in collaboration with its distinguished academic partners, has evolved into a vibrant ecosystem for higher education, shaping bright minds who can respond to the demands of a rapidly changing world.”
Other educational institutions that have embraced the latest developments in the field include Amity University Dubai. Launched in 2011 with 120 students and 22 programmes, the university opened a 700,000 square foot campus in September 2016 to accommodate its 1,900 students of 41 nationalities and 37 programmes. Featuring state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, and a library fitted out with cutting-edge multimedia and audio-visual equipment, Amity University’s new DIAC campus aims to facilitate comprehensive learning and promote maximum interaction between faculty and students.
Dr Vajahat Hussain, CEO of Amity Education Middle East commented, “The new Amity University Dubai campus was built with the objective of enhancing the student experience on-campus. With the support of DIAC and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Amity Dubai has seen tremendous growth in student strength, compelling us to grow from a few conventional programmes we offered back in 2011 to new age, high-impact programmes we offer today
The most recent university to transition towards their own dedicated campus is The University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD), one of the UAE’s oldest and most prestigious universities. UOWD has witnessed tremendous growth since its establishment nearly 24 years ago. With its 35 high-quality degree programmes, more than 4,200 students from 117 countries, and a graduate network of over 9,500 alumni, it has become an integral part of the city’s academic landscape. UOWD recently broke ground on its new 200,000 square foot campus in Dubai Knowledge Park that makes it the fifth DIAC university to expand to its own premises.
Professor Mohamed Salem, President of UOWD, said: “The UAE’s strategic emphasis on a knowledge-based economy, innovation, and entrepreneurship offer a great opportunity for the higher education sector to play a central role in shaping the future. UOWD is strongly committed to contributing to this endeavour through providing an intellectually challenging learning environment.”
He added: “We are particularly proud of our long-standing partnership with DIAC and are grateful for our shared vision – to provide a first-class educational experience that builds future leaders.”
Dubai’s accessibility, both geographically and financially are key features for students who want to study abroad. The cost of living compared to major cities like London, Singapore and New York, its safety, and ease of obtaining visas, are main considerations for students who want quality education in a cosmopolitan city, interacting with people from diverse nationalities, cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds.
DIAC’s vibrant community of universities also offers students a large selection of lifestyle community facilities, including numerous study, sporting and entertainment options, all designed to foster a sense of community and ease student transition from abroad. In addition, DIAC regularly organises a variety of events each year, aimed at supporting and guiding students throughout their time in university include orientation week, sporting tournaments, networking events and career days.
As Dubai’s transnational student population continues to grow substantially, the objective is to continue to attract international universities offering degrees programmes suitable to the demands of the market, while promoting Dubai as an international education hub. These universities should add to the growing community of regional and international universities at DIAC including American University in the Emirates, The British University in Dubai, Hult International Business School, Manchester Business School, Middlesex University, Murdoch University and many more.