Colleges send out admissions letters

More than 13,000 students offered places in federal universities, a record number, with women still dominating the classrooms.

ABU DHABI // A record number of students were offered places at the country's three federal universities yesterday - and women still dominate the classrooms. Some 13,775 students received text messages confirming their places for the forthcoming academic year at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), UAE University (UAEU) and Zayed University.

Zayed University's campus in Dubai, previously an all-female campus, announced its first intake of 171 male students. Another 229 men were offered places at the Abu Dhabi campus. "This increase is good news," said Dr Sulaiman al Jassim, the vice president of Zayed University. "We have extra capacity in the campus in Dubai. Hopefully when the new Abu Dhabi campus opens next year, we'll be taking in a lot more students, too. The campus there is very limited at the moment."

Zayed's total number of admissions increased from 1,896 to 1,977 this year following the Common Educational Proficiency Assessment admissions examinations, although it is yet to be determined how many of these students will in fact enrol. "The growth shows the increasing specialisation of subjects at the federal universities," said Dr al Jassim. Mary Corrado, the UAE director of Amideast, a non-profit educational organisation facilitating study programmes such as the US State Department-funded Fulbright fellowships, which now sends students from the UAE to the US, said: "This is part of the current natural growth in the population.

"The confidence in the federal universities continues to grow, and they become accredited not only by the Ministry of Higher Education, but also by external accrediting bodies. Zayed University now has Middle States accreditation [from the US] and various programmes at UAEU have some US accreditation." Ms Corrado said the high employment record of HCT graduates, now at 98 pwer cent, continued to make it an attractive choice.

In this round of admissions, women were offered 2,256 places at UAEU university, compared to 1,108 men. HCT sent letters to 3,719 men and 4,305 women, and Zayed University sent notices to 400 males and 1,577 females. Women like to stay in the UAE and go to the local universities, while men can more easily study abroad or work for the police or the army, said Dr al Jassim. "The men have more opportunities."

UAE University offered places to 3,364 students, and HCT, which has colleges across the emirates, offered places to 8,024. Scholarships were granted to 400 students in both undergraduate and post-graduate study, and another 10 special-needs students were awarded scholarships to study abroad. Emiratis pay no tuition at federal universities. At a ceremony yesterday to offically recognise the admission offers, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, said education was a major force in sustaining the country's growth.