Stigma of online learning needs to be debunked, say UAE academics

Academics will face the challenges within the country’s higher education system at a conference in November, and top of the agenda will be technology and research.

The Mena Higher Education Leadership Forum will see UAE organisations and institutions such as the University of Dubai and the Saudi German Hospital coming together with international counterparts from around 30 countries.

Dr Narimane Hadj-Hamou, the forum chairwoman, said the conference will “tackle what a world-class university actually means” and how those concepts and qualities can be applied to the UAE.

“We will focus a lot on technology and research, which is a problem across all disciplines.”

She said with the “impressive growth” in the number of universities in the UAE – there are more than 100 – some areas still need to be smoothed out.

“There is still a perception that online learning, for example, is inferior quality but I think that will change if you see how many online universities are launching in the region, including Hamdan bin Mohammed e-University here in Dubai.”

The e-University has been around for nearly a decade, and it is the only accredited online university in the UAE.