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University Quality Assurance (UQAIB) Dubai

Thursday 21 March 2019 (UAE)   

University Quality Assurance International Board (UQAIB)

The University Quality Assurance International Board (UQAIB, not UQAB) was established by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority Dubai (KHDA) in 2008 to assess and license universities operating in the education free zones in Dubai like Academic City (DIAC) and Knowledge Village (KV). This is different from accreditation from the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA), a federal body that monitors tertiary institutes and courses for the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR).

  • 11 June 2012 - WAM report said that Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, issued a decree that Higher Education Institutions affiliated to the Government of Dubai will have their academic, professional, or applied programs subjected to the Dubai Executive Council resolution No. 21 for year 2011:
    • The first article of the decree issued by Sheikh Mohammed in his capacity as the Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai, has delegated powers to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai (KHDA), to subject any of the academic, or professional or applied programmes of any educational institution affiliated to the Dubai government to the resolution of the Dubai Executive Council No. 21 for the year 2011, on the higher education institutions in the Dubai free zones.
    • While the second article of the decree, states that the certificates issued by educational institutions referred to in the first article, which are ratified by the KHDA are recongised and binding by all public and private entities in the Emirate of Dubai for all purposes.
    • This resolution is effective from the date of issuance and shall be published in the Official Gazette.
  • 05 June 2012 (WAM) - The Dubai KHDA said they had certified the first degrees under the new Resolution 21 authorizing them to do so. Heriot Watt University Dubai and 7 other unnamed institutions had presented degrees for certification.
  • 13 December 2011 - Khaleej Times reported that students awarded degrees from universities and colleges in education free zones in Dubai could get there qualifications attested by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai, in accordance with Decree 21 of 2011 issued in June by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council. Public and private sector employers can accept these attested degrees which means greater job opportunities for graduates from the freezone institutes, who were previously denied jobs at many government institutes in particular. Attestation can be done by submitting documents to the KHDA directly, or to the university which the student graduated from. Fee of AED 200 payable for each document requiring attestation.

The usefulness of the UQAIB is to smooth over some of the hiccups that students encountered when they obtained a degree from an institute or course (some institutes are accredited but not for all courses that are offered) that had not been accredited by the CAA.

  1. Federal public organisations (the police, the military, government departments, etc) will not recognize qualifications from non-accredited institutions.
  2. Private organisations may recognise qualifications from non-accredited institutions but the UAE Ministry of Labour must attest degrees before a work permit can be issued, and that can be a time-consuming process if the degree did not come from a CAA accredited university or college - the certificate has to go back to the home country university.
  3. Accredited institutions will not accept undergraduate degrees as prerequisites for post-graduate study if a student wants to transfer from a non-accredited college or university.

However, if the free zone universities and colleges can get a licence from the UQAIB, then that may mean graduates can apply for government jobs, or have an easier time of it getting a work permit in the private sector.

  • UQAIB chairman is Dr Warren Fox, he is also the executive director of higher education at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
  • The UAQIB hopes to complete licensing of all tertiary institutes in DIAC and DKV by February 2009.
  • UQAIB board members come from a wide range of countries, including UK, US, India, Hong Kong, South Africa.
  • The UQAIB is applying for membership to the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), which is an international higher education quality assurance organisation.
  • As the KHDA is a Dubai authority rather than a federal one, and Ras Al Khaimah is a different emirate it seems unlikely that universities in the RAK Free Trade Zone (RAKFTZ) will be able to apply for a UQAIB licence.
  • There are no Education Free Zones in Abu Dhabi so the UQAIB idea is moot there. All Abu Dhabi based universities and colleges are presumably accredited, or applying to be accredited, by the MOHESR CAA. Abu Dhabi includes the city of Al Ain.
  • Students of colleges in other emirates should check if the institute is accredited by the MOHESR.

Now, let's just review all those acronyms again. The UQAIB is a new organisation under the umbrella of the KHDA. The INQAAHE is not, but the UQAIB wants to join the INQAAHE, which is unrelated to the CAA and the MOHESR but you need CAA accreditation for a federal job in the UAE or for MOL attestation of your BA, BSc, MBA etc but if the UQAIB does join the INQAAHE, it might become easier for DIAC and DKV institute degrees to be recognised in the UAE. GI*?

*Got it?

April 2011 courses approved at Dubai universities and colleges by the UQAIB
  • KHDA announcement 10 April 2011 said that 10 universities in Free Zones in Dubai (presumably Knowledge Village and Academic City, and possibly Dubai Healthcare City) were reviewed at the 6th meeting of the UQAIB.
  • Six universities asked for their licences to be renewed, there was one application for a new university, and the UQAIB asked 3 universities to supply more information about their courses.
  • None of the institutes were named, except for Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology Dubai which had all its programs approved after being put on probation in April 2010.
  • The UQAIB will have their next review session in October 2011.
Dubai universities ordered to close
  • On 13 December 2010 Emirates Business 24-7 reported that Mohammed Darwish of the KHDA had told Emarat Al Youm (an Arabic newspaper) that they had cancelled the commercial and academic licenses of UEIMS Medical Science University, Mahatma Gandhi University, and International Institute for Management and Technology.
  • He was also quoted as saying "... some of them did not belong to the original universities, and they were just using the names under special agreement with the original universities. This is against our rules as all the universities must be real branches of well-known universities in their mother country. This is a must as the students who graduated from these universities did not get their certificates attested by the mother university, and thus we acted to protect the rights of students."
  • In April 2010, the UQAIB instructed two universities in Free Zones in Dubai that they were not making the grade and would have to close down. The names were not publicly disclosed.
  • The UQAIB reviewed 29 universities and colleges in Dubai and in April 2010 reports said the findings would be released the same month. No further information seen or supplied, and nothing obvious found on the KHDA website.
  • Warren Fox, Executive Director of the UQAIB, was reported in the Khaleej Times 21 April 2010 as saying "Educational permits will not be given to these institutes and, in that case, they will not be able to operate in Dubai, ... These institutes and programmes are put on probation and will be given six months to rectify their problems."
  • And on 29 April 2010 in the KT, Dr Fox said "Our goal is to make sure students get the best quality education in Dubai," but still didn't say which institutes were below par, leaving students in the dark about where to enrol so they can achieve Dr Fox's goal.
  • Earlier in 2010, there was a report that the Universal Empire Institute of Medical Sciences (UEIMS) moved to Ras Al Khaimah in 2009 apparently as a result of UQAIB encouragement.
Dubai universities and colleges moving out

A Khaleej Times report 20 September 2010 listed several campuses that had been "forced to move out of Dubai," however, the quoted comment about one institute was that it had "chosen to move out of Dubai". Institutes referred to in the report included

Previous moves

Last update Saturday 16-Jun-2012
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