Sharjah 2016 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | B2B

Innovative programs, research agreements, and expansions of infrastructural facilities: universities are ensuring they do what is necessary to stay ahead.

Dr. Amitabh Upadhya
Skyline University College
HE PROF. Rashad Mohamed Salem
Al Qasimia University

What have been the main achievements of your university and how is it different from other academic institutions in Sharjah?

Amitabh Upadhya Skyline University College celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2015 and the highlight was our graduation ceremony over which HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan presided. We started in 1990 as a small institute of tourism and aviation training. We then became an institution recognized by IATA and entered a collaboration with the University of Humberside to run undergraduate and post graduate programs. Later, because the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR) wanted an American-style higher education system we switched our BBA and MBA to an affiliation with the National American University. If you look at other UAE universities there are many models imported from outside the UAE. They continue to offer what they practice in their home countries. We are homegrown and design our programs based on the economic, social, and cultural environment, and on future requirements. That is what I take pride in and we continue to develop in this area

Rashad Mohamed Salem Al Qasimia University has become reputable, not only in the UAE but all around the world, thanks to the directives and visions of His Highness Sheikh Al Qasimi. His Majesty travels the world to advertise the work we are doing in showing the relevancy of Islam and how Islam is the religion of connecting with others. His Highness cares more about the type of student and the type of sharia education they receive. That is why we take in 250 male and female students every year. Now, at the end of the fourth semester, the numbers are close to 500 students from over 60 countries, and His Highness provides them with full support by taking care of all the expenses of every student that comes from abroad, including plane tickets, living expenses, quality dorms, health insurance, transportation and tours to discover the Emirates.

Which foreign academic institutions do you work with?

AU There are over 75 universities operating in the UAE accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education and another 50 that are recognized by the KHDA in Dubai. The number of universities has mushroomed in this part of the world and yet the student body remains more or less the same. We have found that enrolments come through word of mouth and recommendations, not billboards. We have articulation agreements or MoUs with institutions of higher education on every continent and work with them in areas of student exchange, faculty exchange, scholarly collaborations, and conference participations. The list of institutions with which we have agreements is extensive.

RMS Al Qasimia communicates with other universities and exchanges ideas and visions with them so that we can all mutually benefit. We do not want to just produce generations of graduates; the purpose is for people to understand what proper Islam is all about, that it is a religion based on mercy and moderation. And no university can continue without having dialog with other universities. For this reason, Al Qasimia communicates not only with similar other institutions like Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Islamic universities in Saudi Arabia such as Al Mandina Al Munawwara, and Islamic universities in Pakistan and Malaysia, but also with other universities and establishes relations and educational and scientific treaties with them, exchanging visions and ideas.

What plans does the university have for the future?

AU For 25 years, Skyline University remained a single disciplined university in business administration with diploma, BBA, and MBA programs. We have already applied to the Ministry for a DBA program and a school of IT that will conduct BSIT & MSIT programs. At the moment, we are guided by our strategic plan 2017 and, as 2017 is fast approaching, we have started working on our strategic plan for 2017 to 2022. We moved to our campus in 2006 and since then have developed a great deal of infrastructural facilities within the campus. Recently we added a large student common room and established an innovation lab, a unique addition. The next phase is a girl's hostel and then an auditorium.

RMS We will have our largest event at the beginning of 2017: the opening of our house of manuscripts. His Highness has collected thousands of manuscripts and old books and has gifted them to Al Qasimia University and built a building designed specifically to host the manuscripts. In addition, the university will host another conference and we plan to participate in the Arabic language academy in Sharjah. His Highness established the Arabic language academy in Sharjah right next to the university, and the university will have a role in supporting this academy and all its activities to help protect the Arabic language.