Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education and Arizona State University Partner to Break the Higher Education Barrier in the Middle East

Arab youth can receive full scholarships for 28 online master’s degrees that are equivalent to face-to-face programs

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DUBAI — Inequality in the Arab world is on the rise and the divide is most pronounced in the context of education. Quality higher education, in particular, is increasingly out of reach for the majority of the 105 million youth living in the region. The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education and Arizona State University (ASU) are working to change that through the launch of new scholarships for Emirati and Arab youth to complete high quality master’s degrees online. Up to 1,000 eligible Emirati and Arab students can receive a full scholarship to enroll in one of 28 specializations at ASU in the fields of engineering, technology, health, education, and more that are not readily available in the region. These include business analytics, the most competitive online program at ASU; sustainable engineering; the science of healthcare delivery; and curriculum and development with a focus on early childhood education, among many others. This comes following a recent announcement by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) accrediting all 28 programs funded by the Foundation in Dubai.

His Excellency Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the foundation stated, “Arizona State University is a natural partner for us – it shares a commitment to innovation that is central to the UAE’s vision. Offering quality online master’s programs will allow us to train our next cadre of Emirati youth while simultaneously ensuring that they earn the necessary work experience to become leaders in their respective fields.”

Voted the most innovative university in the United States by the U.S. News and World Report three years in a row, Arizona State University offers more than 150 online programs to more than 30,000 students worldwide, with completion rates of over 90%, one of the highest among all online programs in the United States. The custom-designed master’s degree programs are highly interactive and delivered using state-of-the-art technology and tools, providing a direct connection to the knowledge and expertise of the faculty. In addition, Arab students enrolled in ASU’s online programs funded by the foundation will have access to specialized academic counseling, coaching and support throughout the program.

“Our increasingly competitive global economy requires institutions to think differently about how we provide higher education to students at scale, said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “Our partnership with the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education will help fill a critical need in the Arab world and prepare future leaders to tackle economic and social challenges we’ll face.”

This flexible model of learning is recognized as being equivalent in quality and value as a face-to-face degree at ASU, with students graduating with the same degree as students studying on campus. It is appealing to a range of Arab youth - those who are juggling work and family responsibilities, those who cannot travel due to conflict or other reasons, or those who cannot find universities offering these specializations close to home. A recent applicant to the program expressed his support for the initiative stating, “This program allows me to earn a global education from a prestigious university without taking time off from work or leaving home. Why wouldn’t I pursue it?”

The partnership between the Foundation and ASU is the first to offer students an opportunity to complete fully online master’s degrees. It is also a continuation of its efforts to expand access to higher education since its collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched last year to fund scholarships for MicroMaster’s programs.

Arab students below the age of 30 are invited to apply for a scholarship on the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education website three times a year. The call is open until November 29, 2017. Interested students are expected to apply to both the scholarship and ASU to be considered for the program.


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