Tuesday, 10 July 2012

"There has never been a better time to be a student in the UAE" Ali Al Saloom

Taken from The National News paper by Ali Al Saloom

There has never been a better time to be a student in the UAE

Now is the best time to be a student in the UAE. The country is growing and opportunities are plentiful. But with these opportunities come great expectations. The young generation represents hope to the older generation, but the elderly will also hold it responsible for the choices it makes.

If you are an Emirati, you can attend the finest post-secondary institutions in our history. Our beloved father Sheikh Zayed would have been proud, since education was one of his strongest commitments. If you are visiting us from another country, marhaba, welcome.

The UAE is one of the best places to study because, while you will experience a different culture, you will probably find many things are not that different from your homeland. Our country has expanded rapidly, and modernism has forced us to change the way we view our home.

The British philosopher Francis Bacon's statement from 1597 that "for knowledge itself is power" is today perhaps more relevant than ever.

In the past, a student would need to have a certain book physically in his hands to read or he would have to be present in an auditorium where a lecture was being given. How different it is today. Nowadays, the knowledge of the whole world is just a click away and it does not cost more than the time it takes to read the online article, to study the e-book, to watch the tutorial video or to participate in a web conference.

Learning to learn is the call of the day. Looking at economic developments over the last few years, only a complete fool would fail to see how education and technological awareness are crucial to survive. But the tricky issue is that learning is not just about the amount of information one takes in, it's about the source, reliability and significance of the input.

For instance, celebrity gossip and fashion news won't help most of us to advance in life, unless we are working in yellow journalism or the fashion business.

The UAE is making every effort to encourage the best universities from all over the world to open up campuses here and to develop its own educational institutions. And it works - one can study at the American University, the Sorbonne or the University of Wollongong without leaving the UAE.

Yes, it's the best time ever to be a student in the UAE. But don't forget, you don't study just to study - you study for life. And a degree is not meant to be framed and hung on the wall. It is there to be used.