UAE’s niche programmes are a formula for success

Dubai: While other countries have been slow to develop programmes for niche, high-end areas of the economy, the UAE has bravely looked into areas of specialisation that can deliver major national economic benefits.

Speaking at the Annual Dubai Sir Walter Murdoch Lecture at Zayed University recently, Doug Trappett, Australian Ambassador to Qatar and UAE, said the UAE was ambitiously building its education sector.

Murdoch University in Dubai’s first cohort of six undergraduates were also recognised in a graduation ceremony during the event. The country is specialising “in areas such as nuclear, clean technologies, aviation and aerospace, microprocessors and rail. Unfortunately, I think some Australian universities have been slow in recognising these national goals and the opportunities inherent within them”, Trappett said.

Also admirable was the UAE’s strategy to recruit the best, lift its research levels as a percentage of the GDP and give its citizens the best possible education, he said. Australian universities have worked to attract UAE students to the country, they have set up universities here and have consulted partner institutions in the UAE on research and teaching.

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“But overall I am not sure that some have recognised that the local education market has changed – just as the global economy has changed and that old research partners from slowing economies may no longer be available.” He said new research partners from new economies like the Gulf need to be cultivated early in a ferociously competitive market.

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