Ras al Khaimah - August 27, 2010 - Prospective students walk back to the academic building during Open Day for at the University of Bolton in Ras al Khaimah, August 27, 2010. (Photo by Jeff Topping/The National)
Ras al Khaimah - August 27, 2010 - Prospective students walk back to the academic building during Open Day for at the University of Bolton in Ras al Khaimah, August 27, 2010. (Photo by Jeff Topping/ThShow more

RAK to improve education image



RAS AL KHAIMAH // A council has been set up to oversee and regulate the emirate's colleges and universities.

The council, established by order of Sheikh Saud bin Saqr, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, has been welcomed by academics, many of whom feel they are being tarred by low standards at some of the emirate's universities.

Tertiary institutions in RAK do not need to meet any quality standards, leading to claims of several institutions relocating there after failing inspections in Dubai.

That has hurt its reputation, making it even harder to attract students away from the draw of big city life in Dubai and its 53 universities.

The council will consist of academics working in the emirate and will have the power to expel underperforming institutions, said the head of the free zone, Oussama El Omari.

"The concern is that institutions which were not qualified had thought they could come here," Mr El Omari said. "But we have some great institutions such as the University of Bolton and the American University of RAK."

The council would regulate teaching staff and curriculums, hopefully reassuring fee-paying students and parents.

Dr Natasha Ridge, the head of the Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research in RAK, said it would protect students from poor institutions and malpractice.

"If the education council goes ahead it will be very good, but there needs to be more oversight, especially in the free zone," Dr Ridge said.

There are nine universities and colleges in the RAK free trade zone and three others with Ministry of Higher Education accreditation.

In June, the University of Bolton, a branch of the British university that opened in 2008, had its engineering degrees approved by a panel of two academics from the home campus and two independent British academics.

Its campus director, Dr Zubair Hanslot, said he was concerned many universities in RAK lacked similar oversight.

"We do things the same as British universities, which have good governance and aren't allowed to do things without going through the due process of approvals from the home campus," Dr Hanslot said.

He said the issue of RAK becoming a home for those institutions refused by Dubai because they failed to meet the standards of their home campuses had been raised at several meetings with the emirate's ruling authorities.

Dr Hanslot said he had been assured those institutions would now face greater scrutiny.

At Dh25,000 a year, Bolton's fees are about Dh10,000 lower than similar institutions in Dubai, but it still struggles to attract students and convince employers of the value of a RAK education.

"Employers we speak to still see RAK as some sort of backwater, where the education isn't as good quality," said Dr Hanslot. "That's not the case."

Mr El Omari said better universities would help the local economy.

"The graduates from the Vatel school of tourism, for example, are now going to the local hotels so it's important to upgrade the standards of service by providing that education," he said.

"We can't just keep bringing investments without having enough variations of universities here to really support these industries."

The proposed council would include academics from all of the major institutions, such as Bolton and the RAK Medical and Health Sciences University, similar to the regulatory system in Dubai, said Dr Hanslot.

"It would give some confidence to students and parents, and would allow us to check on our standards. Any new player would have to be scrutinised," he said.

"If the committee gets this right, RAK could be a very attractive study destination without the distractions and high costs of Dubai."

In Dubai, the University Quality Assurance International Board's 10 members, from countries including New Zealand and the US, reviews the universities in the free zones and those wanting to establish in the emirate.

Licences are automatically granted to institutions with Ministry accreditation.

Dr Gurumadhva Rao, the vice chancellor of Ministry-certified RAK Medical and Health Sciences University, said the council would help sort the wheat from the chaff.

"Some of the foreign universities here are not reputable in their own countries," Dr Rao said. "There is so much variation in the educational quality."

This makes recruitment in RAK a challenge, he said, because the negative reputation sticks to all those beyond the unregulated free zone.

"There is no kind of control," Dr Rao said. "For everybody, it should be the same level playing field.

"If there were a good panel of experts who understood both education and the local environment, this would be a very good step."

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Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

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Investors: Privately/self-funded

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Aayan’s records

Youngest UAE men’s cricketer
When he debuted against Bangladesh aged 16 years and 314 days, he became the youngest ever to play for the men’s senior team. He broke the record set by his World Cup squad-mate, Alishan Sharafu, of 17 years and 44 days.

Youngest wicket-taker
After taking the wicket of Bangladesh’s Litton Das on debut in Dubai, Aayan became the youngest male cricketer to take a wicket against a Full Member nation in a T20 international.

Youngest in T20 World Cup history?
Aayan does not turn 17 until November 15 – which is two days after the T20 World Cup final at the MCG. If he does play in the competition, he will be its youngest ever player. Pakistan’s Mohammed Amir, who was 17 years and 55 days when he played in 2009, currently holds the record.

Dates for the diary

To mark Bodytree’s 10th anniversary, the coming season will be filled with celebratory activities:

  • September 21 Anyone interested in becoming a certified yoga instructor can sign up for a 250-hour course in Yoga Teacher Training with Jacquelene Sadek. It begins on September 21 and will take place over the course of six weekends.
  • October 18 to 21 International yoga instructor, Yogi Nora, will be visiting Bodytree and offering classes.
  • October 26 to November 4 International pilates instructor Courtney Miller will be on hand at the studio, offering classes.
  • November 9 Bodytree is hosting a party to celebrate turning 10, and everyone is invited. Expect a day full of free classes on the grounds of the studio.
  • December 11 Yogeswari, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher, will be visiting the studio.
  • February 2, 2018 Bodytree will host its 4th annual yoga market.
How Tesla’s price correction has hit fund managers

Investing in disruptive technology can be a bumpy ride, as investors in Tesla were reminded on Friday, when its stock dropped 7.5 per cent in early trading to $575.

It recovered slightly but still ended the week 15 per cent lower and is down a third from its all-time high of $883 on January 26. The electric car maker’s market cap fell from $834 billion to about $567bn in that time, a drop of an astonishing $267bn, and a blow for those who bought Tesla stock late.

The collapse also hit fund managers that have gone big on Tesla, notably the UK-based Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and Cathie Wood’s ARK Innovation ETF.

Tesla is the top holding in both funds, making up a hefty 10 per cent of total assets under management. Both funds have fallen by a quarter in the past month.

Matt Weller, global head of market research at GAIN Capital, recently warned that Tesla founder Elon Musk had “flown a bit too close to the sun”, after getting carried away by investing $1.5bn of the company’s money in Bitcoin.

He also predicted Tesla’s sales could struggle as traditional auto manufacturers ramp up electric car production, destroying its first mover advantage.

AJ Bell’s Russ Mould warns that many investors buy tech stocks when earnings forecasts are rising, almost regardless of valuation. “When it works, it really works. But when it goes wrong, elevated valuations leave little or no downside protection.”

A Tesla correction was probably baked in after last year’s astonishing share price surge, and many investors will see this as an opportunity to load up at a reduced price.

Dramatic swings are to be expected when investing in disruptive technology, as Ms Wood at ARK makes clear.

Every week, she sends subscribers a commentary listing “stocks in our strategies that have appreciated or dropped more than 15 per cent in a day” during the week.

Her latest commentary, issued on Friday, showed seven stocks displaying extreme volatility, led by ExOne, a leader in binder jetting 3D printing technology. It jumped 24 per cent, boosted by news that fellow 3D printing specialist Stratasys had beaten fourth-quarter revenues and earnings expectations, seen as good news for the sector.

By contrast, computational drug and material discovery company Schrödinger fell 27 per cent after quarterly and full-year results showed its core software sales and drug development pipeline slowing.

Despite that setback, Ms Wood remains positive, arguing that its “medicinal chemistry platform offers a powerful and unique view into chemical space”.

In her weekly video view, she remains bullish, stating that: “We are on the right side of change, and disruptive innovation is going to deliver exponential growth trajectories for many of our companies, in fact, most of them.”

Ms Wood remains committed to Tesla as she expects global electric car sales to compound at an average annual rate of 82 per cent for the next five years.

She said these are so “enormous that some people find them unbelievable”, and argues that this scepticism, especially among institutional investors, “festers” and creates a great opportunity for ARK.

Only you can decide whether you are a believer or a festering sceptic. If it’s the former, then buckle up.

Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
6. Sweden
7. UAE
8. Taiwan
9. Netherlands
10. Norway

Pupils in Abu Dhabi are learning the importance of being active, eating well and leading a healthy lifestyle now and throughout adulthood, thanks to a newly launched programme 'Healthy Lifestyle'.

As part of the Healthy Lifestyle programme, specially trained coaches from City Football Schools, along with Healthpoint physicians have visited schools throughout Abu Dhabi to give fun and interactive lessons on working out regularly, making the right food choices, getting enough sleep and staying hydrated, just like their favourite footballers.

Organised by Manchester City FC and Healthpoint, Manchester City FC’s regional healthcare partner and part of Mubadala’s healthcare network, the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ programme will visit 15 schools, meeting around 1,000 youngsters over the next five months.

Designed to give pupils all the information they need to improve their diet and fitness habits at home, at school and as they grow up, coaches from City Football Schools will work alongside teachers to lead the youngsters through a series of fun, creative and educational classes as well as activities, including playing football and other games.

Dr Mai Ahmed Al Jaber, head of public health at Healthpoint, said: “The programme has different aspects - diet, exercise, sleep and mental well-being. By having a focus on each of those and delivering information in a way that children can absorb easily it can help to address childhood obesity."

Sri Lanka-India Test series schedule
  • 1st Test India won by 304 runs at Galle
  • 2nd Test India won by innings and 53 runs at Colombo
  • 3rd Test August 12-16 at Pallekele
Temple numbers

Expected completion: 2022

Height: 24 meters

Ground floor banquet hall: 370 square metres to accommodate about 750 people

Ground floor multipurpose hall: 92 square metres for up to 200 people

First floor main Prayer Hall: 465 square metres to hold 1,500 people at a time

First floor terrace areas: 2,30 square metres  

Temple will be spread over 6,900 square metres

Structure includes two basements, ground and first floor 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.


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