The UAEs youth also have ready access to higher education, at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) in Al Ain, at the all-women Zayed University in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, at 11 Higher Colleges of Technology (HCTs) throughout the country and at the many internationally accredited private institutions that are being established in the UAE. Generous grants are also available for those wishing to study abroad.
Higher Colleges of Technology were established in 1988. Located in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Al Ain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah, they provide three years' technical training in skills such as business administration, accounting, banking, information systems, computers, engineering, aviation technology, and health sciences. These courses are designed to prepare nationals for professional and technological careers in both government and private sectors. Since their foundation, the colleges have grown dramatically, with staff and students increasing by about 30 per cent each year. At present, over 10,000 students are taking advantage of the educational opportunities offered by HCTs.
The Centre for Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT) has recently launched a countrywide continuing education programme for all nationalities. The programme has been designed for professional development and personal enrichment for people with an eye for continuing education. Initial projects include 100 face-to-face instructor-led courses and approximately 100 on line courses through a web site (http://www.cert.ac.ae). Courses will be offered through the centre and Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Ras al-Khaimah. The centre is the continuing education and research arm of the HCT, and this will be the first time the HCT will offer special courses to both nationals and expatriates.
The UAE University, which has eight faculties, was established in 1976. In the last 24 years, it has become a leading institution in education, research and community service. The University is also proving to be the most popular destination for students seeking higher education in the UAE with over 15,000 students currently studying at their facilities.
Zayed University (ZU) for women, with campuses in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, was established in 1998 with the aim of becoming a prime example of academic excellence throughout the region. As well as undergraduate studies in Arts and Sciences, Business, Communication and Media Sciences, Education, and Family Sciences, ZU provides programmes of graduate and continuing education for adult students. One such course is an executive MBA programme to be offered by ZU College of Business Sciences.