KEEPING PACE WITH TECHNOLOGY

Sharjah 2020 | EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

The University of Sharjah recently established the College of Computing and Informatics, which is concerned with smart cities, AI, drone technology, blockchain, and cybersecurity.

Hamid M.K.
BIOGRAPHY
With a PhD in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Manchester, Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy has served at various universities throughout the Arab world, including UAE University, Al Ain, AI Bayt University (Jordan), and the University of Baghdad. He also served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College of Sciences at UOS (UAE) from 2010-2014. In 2014, he was appointed Chancellor of the University of Sharjah by Sheikh Sultan bin Mohamed al-Qasimi.

What new academic programs or expansions do you have in the works?

The new expansions at the University of Sharjah are numerous, especially in terms of graduate programs. The job market demands employees have these certificates due to new technological advancements and their applications in the private and public sectors, and the university must meet the requirements of these new technological developments. The university's president, the Ruler of Sharjah, issued a directive to establish the College of Computing and Informatics, which is concerned with modern fields such as smart cities, the internet, AI, drone technology, blockchain, and cybersecurity, in addition to the establishment of the Sharjah Research, Innovation, and Technology Park as a free zone entity.

What are the biggest educational challenges facing Sharjah and the UAE?

The University of Sharjah, along with other universities, is consistently keeping pace with new technological advancements. Any delay creates a skills gap that is compounded and increasingly difficult to close, with technology moving so rapidly. There is no doubt that technological advances will be faster in the future than they are today. This is the biggest challenge for the current and future education sector in the Emirate of Sharjah and in the broader country, because both are working on modern development according to the highest international standards. There is no doubt that at the core of this development is the technological revolution, which constitutes the cornerstone of every element of future commercial and institutional development.

What unique skills do students gain from studying at the University of Sharjah?

His Highness established the university as a national development project for teaching, research, and service to the community, which harmonizes and interacts with the job market and public institutions in a professional manner. Integrating scientific research and innovation into its curricula and educational programs at all levels, the university also stresses extracurricular activities that support education, enrich the student experience, and integrate information technology into the teaching and research process. All of this has the aim of raising the profile of the university internationally. These are the unique features that have attracted over 100 nationalities. The university also offers 102 academic programs for specializations required by the job market, many of which are not offered elsewhere. Additionally, students are required to engage in graduate research projects utilizing state-of-the-art education, research, and computer laboratories, which are also used in teaching, administrative and technical capacities. As for the university's relationship with its students after graduation, this takes many forms. Our alumni association plays an important role through which the university opens all its doors to meet the scientific, cultural, athletic, and social needs of its graduates.

What are the most important academic cooperation agreements and joint projects that you have at the international level?

The university has recently strengthened its position internationally by signing several cooperation and partnership agreements with prestigious international universities, including the University of California. There is also an agreement with the University of Oulu in Finland for scientific research and with the Desert Research Institute in Nevada for research in water resources and pollution. We also have ties with Harvard, the American Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the University of London, and the University of Göttingen. These partnerships include joint research projects, which are published in international journals, and much more.

What are the added advantages integrating artificial intelligence into higher education?

The applications of artificial intelligence are numerous and relevant to industry, agriculture, commerce, research, and law, among other fields. The College of Computing and Informatics in particular will deal with such technical matters, especially AI.