'The role and growth of international branch campuses: The Dubai model'
Warren Fox, Executive Director Higher Education, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai
The rise of international branch universities in Dubai and the UAE has been incredible. And Dubai now hosts the largest number in the world in any one location, 27 campuses. Many of these are specialised programmes, such as the London Business School in business, but large campuses are included as well, such as Heriot Watt University from Scotland, or Middlesex University - this development has been implemented by the Government of Dubai and is now regulated by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
The creation of branch campus is interwoven with the economic development of Dubai, and our need to diversify the economy, as petroleum does not drive the economy, but traditional and expanded areas like tourism, logistics, trade, retail marketing, shipping and finance now call for an educated workface for the knowledge economy. Because of its location Dubai serves as a regional hub for commerce and it is increasingly serving as a higher education hub as well. The development of economic free zones by the government, along with the building of capitol infrastructure by government supported organisations for use by universities and colleges have been critical parts of the plan.
At KHDA we pursue the goals of student access to higher education, for our national citizens but also for expatriates which are a large majority of our 2 million population in Dubai. The issue of quality is critical for the success of the IBUs and the free zones. A new model of quality assurance, UQAIB has been implemented with an international Board in place. We have achieved much in a short period of time, and our plans for the future are equally ambitious.