Proceeding from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) endeavor to promote its position globally in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) fields and to meet the growing needs of the country for specialized graduates from the UAE in related fields, the ICT Fund -a Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) initiative- signed several agreements with a number of renowned universities to sponsor 114 Emirati students in their academic careers.
The universities included: Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), American University in Dubai (AUD), and American University in Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK).
Commenting on the agreements, H.E. Dr. Abdulqader Al Khayat, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the ICT Fund said: “These agreements reflect the vision of our wise leadership in the UAE to develop national expertise. They are a result of the efforts made with the Betha program through which the Fund aims to offer fully financed scholarships to distinguished UAE male and female students to study ICT-related disciplines in renowned international universities in the country and abroad. The program also aims to raise the academic level of those students and provide efficient local talents to our growing national economy.”
The signing ceremonies took place at the TRA building in Dubai. They were signed by HE Dr. Al Khayat for the ICT Fund, and by Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute; Dr. Luther Troell, Vice President of RIT Dubai; Dr. Lance De Masi, President of AUD; and Dr. Hassan Hamdan Al Alkeem, Vice Chancellor of AURAK. The ceremonies were attended by officials from the TRA, ICT Fund, the above-mentioned universities, and media representatives who covered the event.
Al Khayat added: “We ensured that the agreements will benefit students in their studies by catalyzing them to continue their studies and achieve high scores. We chose renowned universities and are confident that students will benefit from their studies at these universities, succeed, and enjoy a fruitful future for themselves and for their country.”
From the 114 students covered by these agreements, 30 are set to attend the Masdar Institute for Master’s degree, 24 students (12 Bachelors and 12 Masters) are joining RIT, 30 students will go to AUD, and the remaining 30 students are enrolled at AURAK.
HE Dr. Eesa Bastaki, CEO, ICT Fund, commented on the agreements: “We are witnessing today a new era for education of UAE students, and a step towards promoting local talents by providing the best levels of education. UAE National students are being developed so that they can effectively contribute to meeting the needs of our growing economy by becoming qualified to lead this growth, and achieve the aspirations of the country. We are confident that these agreements will encourage other Emirati students to make the necessary efforts towards accomplishing academic excellence that will qualify them for such scholarships offered in the future.”
The agreements state the conditions that students should meet to be accepted in this scholarship program. It also mandates the university to select and supervise students included in the program throughout their studies, and to provide the TRA with regular reports about their progress each semester and upon the TRA’s request.
Dr. Bastaki added: “The signing today marks a significant milestone for the Fund; it reflects the success we are witnessing in spreading awareness about the ICT sector that will enable us to construct a knowledge edifice. This edifice is being nurtured and developed to produce in later stages home-grown innovations that can be transferred to products and services supporting our national economy in the UAE. We, at the ICT Fund, are determined to proceed further until we achieve our goals to create a leading and productive ICT sector in the country.”
The signed agreements also stipulated the financial commitments of the ICT Fund to cover the expenses of the scholarships, in addition to including articles that pledge the students to work in ICT-related positions in the UAE after graduation, in addition to pledging to adhere to courses at the universities, and maintain the minimum degree average required by the ICT Fund and universities in order to be qualified to continue their studies and graduate.
Notably, the ICT Fund strives to promote a culture of entrepreneurship in the UAE ICT sector and to improve linkage between industry and academia. Additionally, it promotes the involvement of UAE nationals in the realm of scientific and technology research in order to foster self-reliance of technology creation and development in the country.