100 students at illegal university told to look for new campus

Shiraz University had been operating on the premises of the Canadian International College based in Knowledge Village, which also had no permit from the emirate’s education regulator.

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DUBAI // About 100 students at an unlicensed and illegal university have been told to either transfer to its home campus in Iran or find another Iranian school in Dubai.

Shiraz University had been operating for a year on the premises of the Canadian International College in Knowledge Village, which also had no permit from the education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

Students are now being advised to look at alternatives, of which locally there is only the Islamic Azad university, also in Knowledge Village. Shiraz had been claiming to offer courses from bachelor’s up to PhD.

Asma Dalmook, heads of permits and regulations at the KHDA, said: “We have informed Shiraz University that they do not have permission to continue operations in Dubai and to find alternatives for the students currently registered. We have provided options for their students to choose from.”

Students have been warned to research their chosen institutions before beginning their studies. “We strongly advise … students to check on the KHDA website or contact KHDA before they register to ensure the institution where they wish to study is permitted,” said Ms Dalmook.

The KHDA licenses all foreign branch campuses, of which there are currently 26 between Knowledge Village and Dubai International Academic City, including India’s Bits Pilani, the UK’s Heriot-Watt and postgraduate courses from Michigan State University.

In January, Dr Warren Fox, head of higher education at the KHDA, said in the light of Expo 2020 its regulations were already being revised to be more rigorous.

“We are implementing a very rigorous review system for new proposals and we are prepared to be firm in our review decisions,” he said. “It’s in the interest of existing institutions and current and future students that we do this. We are for quality and consumer protection.”

Shiraz University is a well established institution in Iran. It was set up in 1946 as a college of health and in 1949 became a medical college. It was given university status in 1954 under the name of Pahlavi University.

After the Islamic revolution in 1979 it became Shiraz University. It has nine colleges including engineering, veterinary medicine and science, and a dental school. Its home campus has nearly 13,000 students from bachelor’s to PhD level.

Dr Ayoub Kazim, managing director of Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Village Tecom, the business operator for the education zones, said: “Canadian International College was until recently located within Dubai Knowledge Village.

“Given Canadian International College was commercially licensed by Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority, when we became aware that the organisation was also acting as host for unapproved courses on behalf of Shiraz University, we immediately referred the matter to the KHDA.

“We are currently in discussions with the KHDA about the situation and Canadian International College is no longer located in Dubai Knowledge Village.”

Abbas Zoghipour, head of Shiraz University in Dubai, refused to comment.