Zayed University to open male campus in Dubai in autumn

The move comes as Dubai authorities move to stem an imbalance between the sexes in federal higher education.

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Zayed University has announced plans to open a campus for male students in Dubai's Knowledge Village as the authorities move to stem an imbalance between the sexes in federal higher education. The university, founded in 1998 for women only, will open its male campus in September, separate from the female campus at Dubai International Academic City.

At the same time, male civilians will be allowed entry to ZU's men's campus in Abu Dhabi, which up to now has been open only to military cadets. ZU is also accepting applications from non-UAE nationals, having previously been an Emirati-only institution, and will accept its first at the start of the autumn term. Subha al Shamisi, executive director at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, said of the new campus: "We're hoping that it will lead to more male students being interested in higher education and maybe we can increase the numbers in the federal institutions."

Only about 40 per cent of students at the federal universities are male, leading to concern that the country could have a shortfall of well-trained men to take up senior positions. Many male teenagers are attracted to careers such as the police that can lead to their not attending university. "We really need well-qualified sufficient males in the workforce," Miss al Shamisi added. "Right now the women are moving up and doing great, but we need to have a balance."

Steven Vanson, marketing consultant at Zayed University, said the opening of a male campus in Dubai had "always been on the horizon". He said Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and ZU's president, had pushed for the campus to open this year. "We have already received approximately 550 applications from both Dubai and Abu Dhabi for the men's campus," he said, adding there would be an increase in applications following the public exams in May. "If we get more students, we are willing to expand to cater for them as well."

ZU opened a campus for male military cadets in Sweihan a year ago before they transferred in November to the newly opened male campus in Abu Dhabi next to the female facility. The approximately 220 male cadets at ZU's Abu Dhabi campus, the only male students at the university, make up about five per cent of the institution's enrolment of more than 4,300. Jeffrey Belnap, associate provost and director of ZU's Abu Dhabi campus, said civilian males had expressed "strong interest" in joining.

"We'll be admitting a certain number of these students in August," he said. Last year ZU became accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, becoming the first federal university to secure overseas accreditation. A new campus being built for ZU in Abu Dhabi is due to open in the autumn of 2011.