Dubai foundation awards university scholarships to 255 Arab students

More than 100 of the scholars will be the first in their families to pursue higher education

Over two-thirds of companies in the region said they were considering a hybrid model of working from home and office days. Getty
Over two-thirds of companies in the region said they were considering a hybrid model of working from home and office days. Getty

More than 100 Arab students will become the first in their families to attend university thanks to the support of a Dubai-based education foundation.

The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education awarded 255 scholarships to young people from across the Arab world who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to pursue higher education.

There were more than 1,200 applications.

The cohort will take online master's degree courses at Arizona State University.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a huge surge in demand for the online scholarship programme

Dr Sonia Ben Jaafar

Demand for online learning at university level has surged since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has limited travel for those eager to study overseas.

The foundation, established in 2015 to bolster education opportunities for all sections of society, said 40 per cent of the scholars would be breaking new ground among their families by embarking on a degree course.

“We are really pleased to be welcoming another round of scholars and continue to lay down pathways that inspire young Arabs to pursue high quality online learning in the future," said Dr Sonia Ben Jaafar, chief executive of the foundation, which is one of the largest philanthropic education initiatives in the Arab world.

"Having been advocates and supporters of high-quality online learning since 2017, we are fortunate to be in this position, ready to provide these opportunities to the underserved youth in these challenging times.

"Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a huge surge in demand for the online scholarship programme and we are grateful to be able to help.”

The latest intake will raise the number of students to receive scholarships through the Al Ghurair Open Learning Scholarship Programme to 555 since its launch in 2017.

The awardees represent 17 nationalities across the Arab region, with women making up over half of the group.

The scholarships cover a range of courses, including engineering, technology, health, education, and sustainability, which were earmarked as developing skill sets in high demand in the region.

Having provided scholarships for online programmes with ASU for the past four years, the foundation has reported a sharp increase in demand since the onset of the pandemic, with the average number of applications received per round increasing by about 60 per cent.

Online learner will take opportunity to pursue her ambitions

Mona Yousef, a Palestinian living in the UAE, will complete her master's degree in Biomedical Diagnostics after securing a scholarship.

She hopes to use her degree to focus on research in the UAE and wider region.

She said she had learnt the benefits of online learning during the pandemic.

“I was able to discover new qualities about myself such as self-control and resilience, which enabled me to realise my goals, work for a better future and succeed as an online learner.”

The scholarship programme offers tailored support throughout a student's academic journey, including a personal enrolment coach and success coach.

Higher education in the UAE during a pandemic:

Updated: May 17, 2021 04:43 PM

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