Nature Middle East | House of Wisdom

United Arab Emirates students shunning science universities

Students at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are increasingly rejecting science universities, choosing more literary courses, reports the online news portal Gulf News from the second annual Education Conference in the UAE.

The story quotes Abdullatif AlShamsi, the managing director of the Institute of Applied Technology, UAE, who explains that students find medicine or mathematics field as “dry and boring,” and that all attempts so far to change this has been unsuccessful.

The UAE has been taking steps to reform education across the country to satisfy the needs of the marketplace and to fulfill its vision to create a knowledge-based society. The shift away from science universities could disrupt these plans, however.

The problem is not localized to the UAE. In October 2010, the Center for Future Studies, an Egyptian government think-tank, published a report (abstract here) which warned that a majority of pre- and university students are opting not to apply for scientific courses, and a low number seek science and mathematics majors in universities.

The report commented that this could hamper Egypt’s vision of becoming a developed country by 2030, an integral part of the center’s proposed Vision2030 strategy.

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