Dubai universities prepare to open doors to more students from China

Danielle Green
Danielle Green

Agreement paves way for greater higher education collaboration between China and Dubai, including Chinese Ministry of Education endorsement for degrees achieved by nation’s students in the emirate

More students from China will be studying at Dubai universities thanks to a new agreement signed by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai and the Chinese Service Center for Scholarly Exchange (CSCSE).

The agreement gives Chinese students assurance that the degrees they earn in Dubai will be verified by CSCSE and the Ministry of Education in China. The partnership also enables greater collaboration in higher education and exchange between Dubai and China.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of KHDA, the Government of Dubai’s educational quality assurance and regulatory authority, said: “The Chinese community has contributed greatly to the growth of Dubai, and we are happy that this agreement builds on our relationship. International branch campuses in Dubai are known for the quality of education they provide and the multicultural values and skills they offer students. We look forward to welcoming students from China to our diverse and happy city.”

The landmark MoU not only “opens a door” for Chinese students but emphasises that “cultural intelligence is more important than IQ”, said Dr Abdulla. “In the past we used to judge students by their IQ, now we are talking about CQ (cultural intelligence). In Dubai, students can study in international universities and at the same time meet students of 180 nationalities. CQ is more important for students nowadays.

“Earlier this year there was a report from the World Economic Forum that said 65 percent of the children that are currently studying in primary school, when they graduate they will work on jobs that don’t exist today. So having cultural understanding of the world is essential in understanding whatever we face tomorrow.”

The agreement was signed during Dubai Week in China, organised by Falcon and Associates. During the event, more than 100 educators and investors from China participated in a panel discussion about the growth opportunities for schools catering to the Chinese community in Dubai. A separate discussion outlined the excellent study and employment opportunities that a Dubai education gave to students from China.

'International branch campuses in Dubai are known for the quality of education they provide and the multicultural values and skills they offer students. We look forward to welcoming students from China to our diverse and happy city'

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General, KHDA

It is plain, from the complex and ambitious projects discussed during Dubai Week in China, from Belt and Road to the digitisation of trade, that future working practices demand an ever-sophisticated skill-set. However, Dr Abdulla believes that a “heart education” is just as important. 

“The most essential skill personally for me is empathy”, he said. “In the world we live in today, it’s very easy to neglect real communication and stick to the phone. We are not only technology-heavy we are more technology-dependent. But we don’t want to forget social interaction. I think empathy brings people on a human level. When you empathise with some people from other places about what they’ve been through you can connect on a deeper level. Children who go through this will be stronger and richer. So instead of teaching their head we teach their heart.

“Education has done a good job in teaching our head, with math, science, language, or whatever subjects our work requires. But in the future world, where there are no borders, we need to teach students about their happiness, their wellbeing and connecting with others.”

The Chinese community in Dubai is made up of 250,000 people, including more than 1,000 school and university students. Panellists contributing to the education discussion at Dubai Week in China included Professor Ahmad Al Ali, Vice Chancellor, Emirates Aviation University Dubai; Professor Bryn Jones, Heriot Watt University, Dubai; Che Weimin, Deputy Director General of CSCSE; and Judy Hou, Managing Director, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management.