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The government's announcement of a major review of the National Student Survey signals a worrying shift in the HE regulatory landscape, warns Jon Scott, higher education consultant and former Pro Vice-Chancellor (student experience) at the University of Leicester.
Statements from ministers this week have made it clear that higher education in England is facing significant reforms, re-setting its focus towards helping to plug the UK's skills gaps and rebuilding the economy. Fariba Soetan, Policy Lead for Research and Innovation at the National Centre for Universities and Business, argues that the proposed changes bring a welcome focus on graduate outcomes and supporting the careers of young people.
Birmingham University is to open a new campus in Dubai, the latest UK institution to tap in to potentially lucrative markets overseas.
Opening in September 2018, the campus will teach a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs, focusing on the needs of the labour market in Dubai.
Its first programs will be in computer science, mechanical engineering, primary and secondary education, and business, with further courses in the pipeline.
In the years to come, postgraduate researchers will join students on the campus.
Although other universities have offices in the United Arab Emirates, including Exeter, Bradford, London School of Business and Heriot Watt, it is the first university in the top 100 globally to establish a campus.
It will be located in Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), an international education hub with 26 universities.
Announcing the new campus at the British Council's Going Global conference, Professor Sir David Eastwood, Birmingham’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said it would provide mobility opportunities for students on both campuses and become “a hub for the international experience for our students right across the University of Birmingham group”.
The move marks the latest phase in the University of Birmingham's global expansion and builds on partnerships in Singapore and China.
Professor Eastwood said: “For the last 20 years we have been providing opportunities for students to study on University of Birmingham degree programmes at partner institutions, including in China and Singapore. We have strategic partnerships in the USA, Australia, China, and Brazil and active research collaborations across the world. Opening a campus in Dubai is the next step in our global mission and demonstrates our ambition as an outward looking, world-class institution."
The University will join private universities from 12 countries in a sector with 10 per cent annual student growth.
DIAC, a member of TECOM Group, was established in 2007 and is the world's largest free zone dedicated to Higher Education. It offers 500 undergraduate, postgraduate, and PHD programmes to over 25,000 students representing 149 nationalities.
*Over 17,000 students are currently studying for a UK award in the UAE: an increase of 10 per cent from last year, and of about 58 per cent over the past five years, according to a country report on the UAE published by the Quality Assurance Agency. It also said that two new UK higher education providers are due to open branch campuses in Dubai in the next year or so.
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