Abu Dhabi to get medical college

Administrators of the Indian university say they plan to open medical schools in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI // India's Manipal University plans to open a medical college in Abu Dhabi next year that will cater to local and expatriate students, a businessman from the country said yesterday.

The medical college is likely to begin classes in September 2012 with a batch of 100 students, said BR Shetty, the founder of New Medical Centre (NMC), after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Manipal Group in southern India's Manipal city over the weekend.

"In five years, there will be a scarcity of doctors in Abu Dhabi and in the Gulf region," said Dr Shetty on telephone from India.

"This college will be good because there is a demand, not only from expatriate students, but from locals and GCC citizens also."

The announcement was made in India during Manipal University's foundation day ceremony. Details of the agreement with NMC, one of Abu Dhabi's oldest health care companies, were not available and the location of the Abu Dhabi campus has not be finalised.

The university's medical college is ranked among the top 10 in India. Students from more than 50 countries have signed up for degrees in medicine, engineering, life sciences and communication in the university's campuses in three southern Indian cities.

The university opened its Dubai campus 11 years ago and has 1,600 students enrolled.

Dr B Ramjee, the director of Manipal University, Dubai, said officials are first looking at setting up the campus in Dubai for which statutory regulations are being evaluated.

Three years ago, Manipal University in Dubai announced it would add a dedicated medical college to its campus. The college will be located in Dubai International Academic City.

"We are working hard on setting up our medical programme," Dr Ramjee said. "We are examining possibilities of opening the Abu Dhabi campus once we firmly establish our Dubai campus. Dubai remains our hub, but the Abu Dhabi college is also needed because we want all regions of the UAE to have access to medical school facilities."

The group has plans for colleges in countries around the Gulf region, such as in Oman and Bahrain.

"There is a dire need for well-qualified doctors," he said. "Not only are we are looking at Abu Dhabi, we are hoping to expand in the Middle East with Dubai as our base."

The date of the opening of the medical college and details of the application process will be announced later.